Longoria: First homer felt like a 'dream'
Three games in, Rays rookie third baseman off to hot start
ST. PETERSBURG -- Evan Longoria recorded his first Major League extra-base hit Monday night when he doubled against the Yankees in the fourth inning, then added his first Major League home run in the eighth to tie the game at 7.
The Rays eventually lost, 8-7, but for Rays fans and Longoria, Monday's game was memorable. A day after his big night, the rookie third baseman called the game a "building block" for him.
"It was good to get the first home run and extra-base hit out of the way, but at the same time, I definitely think I would have been a lot more excited had we won that game," Longoria said.
After much hype, Longoria played his first Major League game Saturday and after three games, he's hitting .444.
Monday night's home run "was one of my brighter moments in my baseball career," Longoria said. "It was awesome -- especially in that situation. You know, as soon as the ball got off the bat, I knew it was out of the park. It was just one of those things where I'm going around the bases thinking, 'Is this real or some kind of dream?' But it's cool."
When Longoria reached the bench, Rays fans pushed for a curtain call. Longoria has said there are two kinds of players in the Major Leagues, those who are humbled and those who are going to be humbled. So he has tried to avoid anything showy -- like a curtain call, which made the act seem unusual for the rookie.
"I wasn't going to go back out there," Longoria said. "I thought the fans were just excited. I was just going to sit on the bench. But Carlos [Pena] had to push me out there."
Longoria chuckled when asked if he had ever had a curtain call during his career.
"Never enough people," he said before reversing fields. "You know what, that's a lie. I actually did do a curtain call. I hit two home runs in rookie ball in the New York-Penn League [for Hudson Valley] in my last game. They gave me a curtain call there. They've got some good fans there, five or six thousand were there."
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, other players who hit their first Major League home run against the Yankees include Manny Ramirez (1993, now has 493 home runs), Jim Thome (1991, 509), and Jimmie Foxx (1927, 534). Babe Ruth finished his career with the most home runs after hitting his first against the Yankees. Ruth's blast came in 1915 while pitching for the Red Sox against the Yankees; he added 713 home runs during his career.
The fan who caught the ball returned it to Longoria after the game without holding the Rays third baseman for ransom.
The fan "just wanted to meet me," Longoria said. "I gave him a signed ball. He was outside waiting. It was nice of him to give the ball to me."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.