The star third baseman looks to continue his home run binge when the Rays try for a second straight victory over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night.
Longoria hit a two-run homer Friday as Tampa Bay (6-10) scored four times in the first inning of an 8-3 win over Oakland.
The A's (12-5) had a six-game road winning streak to start the season snapped as the Rays pounded out 10 hits and matched a season high for runs. Tampa Bay opened a six-game home stretch against Oakland and the New York Yankees that followed a 2-7 road trip.
Tampa Bay averaged 3.0 runs in its first 13 games, but 6.7 while winning two of the last three."It's still not there," manager Joe Maddon said. "We still need to improve in certain areas, but it's wins like this that can get you going in the right direction. It's all about confidence."
Longoria has six hits in 25 at-bats, but four have been homers in the last five games. He has reached base in all 16 contests, with only two players in franchise history recording longer such streaks to begin a season - Rocco Baldelli with 24 in 2003 and Jorge Cantu with 20 in 2005."I think Longo is definitely getting toasty," Maddon said
The Rays hand the ball to Jeremy Hellickson (0-1, 4.91 ERA), who gave up two runs and three hits in seven innings while striking out nine in a 3-2 loss at Boston on Monday. He didn't get a decision.
The right-hander is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in four starts versus Oakland, which scored twice in the first inning Friday but did little else against four Rays pitchers.
With 11 hits in the series opener, the A's have posted double-digit hit totals in each road contest, though they scored fewer than six runs in a game away from home for the first time in 2013.
Shortstop Jed Lowrie went 4 for 4 to raise his average to .413."He's been as about as consistent as you can be," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "Up over .400 now at this time of year is pretty good."
Coco Crisp homered and extended his hitting streak to 12 games, during which he's batting .392 with five home runs and nine RBIs. He's 3 for 9 with a double against Hellickson.
The A's hope Jarrod Parker (0-2, 10.80) can regroup after lasting 3 1-3 innings in each of his last two outings. He gave up eight runs and nine hits in a 10-1 loss to Detroit on Sunday."I made a couple of good pitches, and they hit them," said Parker, who has walked eight and struck out four in three starts. "And I made a couple of bad pitches and they hit them. I'm just a tick away. I feel fine."
The right-hander went 0-1 in two starts against the Rays in 2012, allowing three runs in six innings in both.
|April 19, 2013||Brett Anderson||Day-to-Day||Ankle|
|April 13, 2013||Yoenis Cespedes||15-Day DL||Strained muscle, left hand|
|April 12, 2013||Coco Crisp||Day-to-Day||Strained left groin|
|April 10, 2013||Scott Sizemore||15-Day DL||Torn left ACL - out for season|
|April 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||Day-to-Day||Sprained right wrist|
|March 27, 2013||Hiroyuki Nakajima||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|March 31, 2013||Juan Carlos Oviedo||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 28, 2013||Jeff Niemann||60-Day DL||Right shoulder surgery - out for season|
|March 24, 2013||Luke Scott||15-Day DL||Strained right calf|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- To help the Tampa Bay Rays relax, manager Joe Maddon invited a disc jockey into the clubhouse for a little pregame entertainment Saturday.
"I want our guys to chill out a little bit, go out there and play hard and not be afraid of making mistakes - ever," Maddon said. "This is my way of getting the point across."
Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson scattered three hits over seven innings and Matt Joyce homered for the first time in nearly three weeks to help the Rays stop the A's 1-0 on Saturday night.
"We're going to take a win any way we can get it," Joyce said after Tampa Bay played superb defense behind Hellickson and two relievers to shut down the top scoring team in the majors.
"To know you can pitch play defense well enough to make one run stand," Joyce added, "it's a good confidence builder."
Hellickson (1-1) walked one and struck out six to win for the first time in four starts this season. Joyce homered off Jarrod Parker (0-3) on a 3-2 pitch leading off the second inning.
Joel Peralta pitched the eighth for Tampa Bay, which has won two straight over the AL West-leading A's after dropping seven of nine on a road trip that ended Thursday night.
Fernando Rodney worked the ninth, finishing the three-hit shutout and earning his second save in three opportunities.
"I think the biggest thing was throwing strikes and getting ahead of hitters," Hellickson said. "The first three games I think I gave up a run in the first inning. That was a big focus."
Oakland, which began the night leading the majors with 99 runs, was shut out for the second time this year. Coco Crisp went 0 for 4, ending a 12-game hitting streak - which tied his longest since 2008 - although he reached base with one out in the ninth when second baseman Ryan Roberts dropped his pop fly for an error.
The A's didn't have a hit after the fourth inning. Crisp was the their only baserunner after Derek Norris drew a walk leading off the fourth and was doubled off first when Josh Reddick lined to shortstop Yunel Escobar .
"You lose 1-0, one pitch is the difference in the game," Parker said. "I wish I could go back and get it."
Hellickson limited the A's to singles by Brandon Moss , Eric Sogard and Seth Smith . The 26-year-old right-hander didn't allow a runner past first base and was helped by centerfielder Desmond Jennings ' unassisted double play to end the third inning, as well as Reddick's fifth-inning liner that thwarted another potential Oakland rally.
Parker allowed one run and six hits in six-plus innings - his longest outing of the season. A 13-game winner as a rookie a year ago, the young right-hander struggled in his first three starts this month, failing to get through the fourth inning in two of them. With the exception of Joyce's homer, he was sharper against the Rays.
Tampa Bay loaded the bases on two singles and a walk before Parker got Ben Zobrist to ground out to end a Rays threat in the fifth.
"He threw the ball good. That's what we're used to seeing out of him," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "Just one 3-2 pitch to Joyce. Other than that, (they) really didn't hit too many balls hard. This is the first game he's pitched really well for us."
Notes: Jennings recorded the first unassisted double play by an outfielder in Rays history when he caught Crisp's pop fly and stepped on first base as he trotted to the dugout to double off Sogard, who had been running on the pitch and did not attempt to return to the bag. ... Joyce drove in a run for the first time since his ninth-inning solo homer off Tommy Hunter beat Baltimore on April 3. ... The Athletics recalled RHP Jesse Chavez from Triple-A Sacramento and optioned RHP Evan Scribner to the Pacific Coast League club. Scribner worked three innings Friday night after A's starter Brett Anderson left after the first inning with a sprained right ankle. Melvin said Anderson felt better, but did no on-field work on Saturday. The left-hander's status will be updated Sunday. ... Athletics OF Yoenis Cespedes (strained left hand muscle) swung a fungo bat and might hit off a tee Sunday.