ST. PETERSBURG -- Those first four years of playing at Tropicana Field were an exercise in frustration for Alex Gordon.
The Royals' left-handed hitter, still trying to find himself in those days, went a barren 0-for-42 at Tampa Bay's home park in 2007 through 2010. That's right, 0-for-42.
"I don't know; it's just one of those things. I just didn't play well here," Gordon said. "You move on from it and you just try to not think about the past when you play this game, and always think about what you can do today."
Perhaps that was his thinking in his first at-bat here in 2011 because he banged a double off Jeremy Hellickson, the same pitcher he'll be facing on Tuesday night, and the spell was broken. Things are much better now.
"It was early in my career," Gordon said. "It's probably because I don't have to face James Shields here anymore and deal with that changeup in the dome."
That whimsical comment came after Shields had pitched the Royals over the Rays, 6-0, on Monday night and Gordon had a 3-for-5 game with a double and two RBIs.
That burst put him at 13-for-46 (.283) at The Trop in the last four years. In fact, he's hit safely in eight of his last nine games under the dome, going 12-for-35 (.343) in that span.
"I'm just a different person now," Gordon said. "A better hitter."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.