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Longoria, Rays make history in ALDS

Oct 3, 2008 - 12:01 AM ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- It did not take Evan Longoria and the Tampa Bay Rays long to familiarize themselves with postseason baseball.

Longoria became the first rookie in history to homer in his first two postseason at-bats as the Rays picked up the franchise's first playoff win with a 6-3 triumph over the Chicago White Sox in Game One of the American League Division Series on Thursday.

Carl Crawford, who as the longest-tenured Tampa Bay player had suffered through six losing seasons before the 2008 campaign, singled in a run in the fifth for the Rays.

Longoria put the Rays on top, 1-0, with a solo blast on the first pitch of the second inning and gave them a 4-3 lead with another solo shot in the third. The All-Star rookie added an RBI single in the fifth while walking and stealing a base in the seventh.

"I was nervous," Longoria said of his postseason debut. "I think if you're not nervous in this situation, you're really not soaking in the moment. I was anxious to get up there and (Javier Vazquez) made a couple mistakes, and that's what you're supposed to do as a good hitter, is hit the mistakes."

"He's always in the moment," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Longoria. "He's always got this way about him that you know he's not going to be overwhelmed by the situation, and that speaks beyond his skill level. Obviously, his skills are very good, but I just look and try to evaluate what the guy's like, and he likes these moments, in a non-cocky way. He's just very confident."

Gary Gaetti, who was Longoria's hitting coach at Class AAA Durham, is the only other player to homer in each of his first two career postseason at-bats, accomplishing the feat with the 1987 Minnesota Twins.

"Yeah, I probably will give (Gaetti) a call after this whole thing's over," Longoria said. "He's probably out hunting right now or doing something. But I'm sure we'll touch base."

James Shields (1-0) allowed three runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings while striking out four and issuing one walk to pick up the win.

"I had a game plan going in and I just stuck with it," Shields said. "Me and (catcher Dioner Navarro) really talked about it beforehand and we had a good approach. (The White Sox), they can win a ballgame in one swing, and I was trying to execute every one of my pitches, trying to be efficient with my pitches and go deep in the game and try to get the bullpen where we needed to be."

The righthander allowed a three-run homer by Dewayne Wise in the third that gave the White Sox a brief 3-1 lead.

But Tampa Bay rallied back in the bottom of the frame, pulling even on Akinori Iwamura's RBI triple and a sacrifice fly by Willy Aybar. Longoria followed Aybar and drove a hanging breaking ball from Vazquez deep into the left field stands to put the Rays on top for good.

"I knew he was going to try to get ahead early in the first at-bat, so I was planning on swinging first pitch no matter what," Longoria said. "Then the second at-bat, with me hitting the fastball on the first one, I kind of figured he was going to throw me something off-speed, and (he) just left one up over the plate."

Longoria knocked Vazquez out of the game with his RBI single in the fifth, and Crawford greeted lefthander Clayton Richard with a run-scoring base hit to push the advantage to 6-3.

Vazquez (0-1) was charged with all six runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings, striking out six and walking one.

"We showed (Vazquez) we've got a lot of confidence in him starting the first game," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I don't think he threw that ball that bad like it looked. He had a couple hits here and there, but obviously, he got short. I think he pitched only five innings. Obviously, the expectation was higher from our view. You know, he just can't get it done."

Chicago drove Shields from the game with one out and the bases loaded in the seventh, but Grant Balfour came on and struck out Juan Uribe and Orlando Cabrera to snuff out the threat.

Balfour and Cabrera exchanged words after a 1-1 pitch sailed far outside, with Chicago's leadoff hitter imploring the righthander to challenge him. Balfour did just that, blowing two fastballs past Cabrera for the strikeout.

"I think both of them got a little bit excited," Guillen said. "I don't blame (Balfour). To me, he misunderstood Cabrera's action. I mean, when you have 40,000 people around your first playoff game, you expect a lot of things. But I think he just overreacted a little bit."

"Grant is just that wound up when he pitches," Maddon said. "He truly is. He's been like that. I think what I've seen as he's been with us this year, he's been able to let go a little bit more."

J.P. Howell struck out two in a perfect eighth and Dan Wheeler allowed a solo blast by Paul Konerko in the ninth but recovered to pick up the save.

The Rays lost first baseman Carlos Pena in the third inning to blurred vision.

"When you're talking about vision, whether it's hitting or receiving a throw with all these people in the stands, you can't really see that well," Maddon said. "When he presented all of that to me, I chose to just pull him out of the game at that time. I really believe, from what I understand, he's going to be fine from tomorrow. It's one of these quick-healing things. But it can present a problem in the initial phase."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CHI WHITE SOX 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 7 0
    TAMPA BAY 0 1 3 0 2 0 0 0 x 6 11 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CHA - JAVIER VAZQUEZ, CLAYTON RICHARD (5TH), OCTAVIO DOTEL (8TH) AND
    A.J. PIERZYNSKI
    TAM - JAMES SHIELDS, GRANT BALFOUR (7TH), J.P. HOWELL
    (8TH), DAN WHEELER (9TH)

    Oct 2 5:48 PM
  • 35
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    White Sox 4, Rays 6  Top 9, 0 OutsOct 2 5:44 PM
  • EDog Let's Go Rays!!!!

    White Sox 4, Rays 6  Top 9, 0 OutsOct 2 5:44 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY PAUL KONERKO (1) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    9TH OFF DAN WHEELER.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 4, TAMPA BAY 6
    DUE UP FOR CHI WHITE SOX: K GRIFFEY JR (.000, 0-FOR-3)

    White Sox 4, Rays 6  Top 9, 0 OutsOct 2 5:41 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CARL CRAWFORD SCORED WILLY AYBAR.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C CRAWFORD ON FIRST, E LONGORIA ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 3
    TAMPA BAY 6 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C FLOYD (.000, 0-FOR-2)

    White Sox 3, Rays 6  Bot 5, 0 OutsOct 2 4:20 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY EVAN LONGORIA SCORED B.J. UPTON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, E LONGORIA ON FIRST, W AYBAR ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 3
    TAMPA BAY 5 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C CRAWFORD (.000, 0-FOR-2)

    White Sox 3, Rays 5  Bot 5, 0 OutsOct 2 4:15 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY EVAN LONGORIA (2) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 3RD OFF JAVIER VAZQUEZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 3, TAMPA BAY 4
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C CRAWFORD (.000, 0-FOR-1)

    White Sox 3, Rays 4  Bot 3, 0 OutsOct 2 3:32 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY WILLY AYBAR SCORED AKINORI IWAMURA.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 3
    TAMPA BAY 3 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: E LONGORIA (1.000, 1-FOR-1, HR, RBI)

    White Sox 3, Rays 3  Bot 3, 0 OutsOct 2 3:31 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY AKINORI IWAMURA SCORED JASON BARTLETT.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A IWAMURA ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 3
    TAMPA BAY 2 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: B UPTON (.000, 0-FOR-1)

    White Sox 3, Rays 2  Bot 3, 0 OutsOct 2 3:28 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY DEWAYNE WISE (1) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT
    IN THE 3RD OFF JAMES SHIELDS SCORED ALEXEI RAMIREZ AND A.J.
    PIERZYNSKI.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 3, TAMPA BAY 1
    DUE UP FOR CHI WHITE SOX: J DYE (.000, 0-FOR-1)

    White Sox 3, Rays 1  Top 3, 0 OutsOct 2 3:18 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY EVAN LONGORIA (1) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 0
    OUT IN THE 2ND OFF JAVIER VAZQUEZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 0, TAMPA BAY 1
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C CRAWFORD (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    White Sox 0, Rays 1  Bot 2, 0 OutsOct 2 2:58 PM
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    White Sox 0, Rays 0  Top 2, 0 OutsOct 2 2:53 PM
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    White Sox vs. RaysOct 2 12:39 PM
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