Longoria closing in on rookie records
Rays slugger sports six-game hit streak entering Sunday
PITTSBURGH -- Evan Longoria said he always has a certain kind of confidence when he enters the ballpark.
However, the 22-year-old phenom -- who was drafted No. 3 overall in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft -- admits that the streak he's on right now is a totally different feeling.
The Rays' third baseman had a six-game hitting streak entering Sunday, which included three multihit games, three home runs and 12 RBIs. Over the past 10 games, he's hit .381 (16-for-42) with eight runs scored.
On top of that, Longoria leads all Rays players and Major League rookies in home runs (15). He is two homers away from tying the American League record for home runs by a rookie before the All-Star break. Tim Salmon set the record (17) in 1993.
He needs three RBIs to become only the third rookie in the past 50 years to reach 15 homers, 20 doubles and 50 RBIs by the All-Star break.
"It's kind of that feeling where everything is just going my way right now," Longoria said. "I'm just trying to keep it going, trying to ride it out. Every day you come to the ballpark, you don't know what's going to happen. I'm having success right now. I'm just trying to keep doing what I'm doing."
Longoria had seven hits in the Rays' three-game sweep against the Marlins earlier in the week, and his three-run homer on Friday night helped propel Tampa Bay to a 10-5 win over the Pirates.
"I always have a certain amount of confidence, but when you start hitting the ball and they start falling in for you, there's that added level of confidence when you go up to the plate," he said. "You're bound to do something, whether it's hit a ball hard or get a base hit."
It's not by accident that the Rays are also playing some their best baseball during Longoria's impressive run. The team had won 10 of its last 14 games entering the final day of Interleague Play on Sunday.
"Ever since I've known him, he's always hit like this," shortstop Jason Bartlett said. "He plays like he's been here for a while. He's like everybody. He's going to go through his down streaks and hot streaks. He handles everything well and he deserves everything he's got."
It seems the only thing that can slow Longoria is time. He has yet to complete a 162-game schedule.
"I don't think it's going to be that tough," he said. "I've played 142 last year, plus all the way to the last day of the year. Obviously, it's pretty tiring. It wears on you. It's tough to play every day. But it's easy to get up and get excited to play in the Major Leagues."
Todd Krise is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.