HOUSTON -- Evan Longoria ditched his batting gloves on Friday night and went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. He said he'd continue to bat barehanded on Saturday night.
"I guess I'll keep doing it until it starts hurting too much, or it stops working," Longoria said.
Longoria said he hadn't gone gloveless since his rookie year in 2008, but it's something he's tried before in his baseball career.
Entering Friday, the Rays' third baseman was hitting 4-for-37 in his previous 10 games.
"The game is more mental than it is physical, at this point," Longoria said.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said Longoria looked comfortable at the plate in the series opener. Maddon said he was encouraged that Longoria's base hit to right field was a line drive instead of a soft fly ball.
- 131 wins
- 121 wins
"When guys are struggling in some way, they're always going to try something different," Maddon said. "The haircut's already occurred, so the batting gloves are the next step."
Longoria doubled in the first inning on Saturday, scoring Ben Zobrist, who had walked with one out, from first base.
Rays' rotation on a roll of late
HOUSTON -- The Rays' starting rotation boasts a 1.55 ERA during the current road trip and has held opponents to a .153 batting average.
The recent stellar pitching statistics have translated to wins, as Tampa Bay is 6-1 in its past seven games, and starters have a 1.43 ERA over that span.
"It's a lot of fun," said Jeremy Hellickson. "Being in the rotation with these guys, we're all pretty much the same age. We've got guys that go out there and want to throw complete games every time."
James Shields is the first pitcher in franchise history to throw three straight complete games after going nine innings in Tampa Bay's 5-1 victory over Houston on Friday.
"We've got [David] Price, who finished second in the Cy Young [last season]," Hellickson said, "and we've got Shields throwing complete games every time out."
Rays starters have allowed just eight earned runs in their past 53 1/3 innings pitched, and the Rays are now eight games over .500, matching their season high.
Hellickson said the starting rotation has to keep shutting down opponents to contend with the Red Sox and Yankees. Tampa Bay won on Friday night and New York and Boston both lost, marking the first day since May 11 that the Rays gained a game in the standings on both teams.
"We know we can't lose too many ballgames, because those guys don't lose a whole lot," Hellickson said. "We've just got to go out there and put it all together almost every night."
Shields completely on top of his game
HOUSTON -- James Shields' third straight complete game on Friday night added to his All-Star resume, but his availability for the All-Star Game is uncertain.
If the Rays maintain their normal rotation, Shields will pitch the Sunday before the All-Star break, leaving him ineligible to pitch in the the Midsummer Classic two days later.
Joe Maddon said the rotation will in all likelihood remain on track.
"The Rays are much more important, Maddon said. "We have set this thing up for a while."
Detroit's Justin Verlander is in the same predicament, and Jim Leyland said earlier this week he also had no plans to change the order of the rotation.
Shields threw his Major League-leading sixth complete game on Friday, fanning nine Astros. He became the first pitcher to throw six complete-game wins in the first 76 games of the season since Toronto's Pat Hentgen in 1997.
Rays ink second-round pick Linsky
HOUSTON -- The Rays signed second-round pick Lenny Linsky, a right-handed pitcher who broke the single-season school record with 14 saves in his junior year at the University of Hawaii.
Linsky, the 89th overall pick in this First-Year Player Draft, posted a 1.30 ERA this season at Hawaii, and his 14 saves led the Western Athletic Conference.
Linsky held opponents to 13 earned runs in 78 2/3 innings over his past two seasons, after compiling an 8.47 ERA his freshman year.
Tampa Bay has now signed 31 of its 60 selections, including eight of its top 12 picks.
The Rays announced the signing of second-round Draft pick Lenny Linsky, a right-handed pitcher from the University of Hawaii. Tampa Bay has now signed 31 of its 60 selections, including eight of its top 12 picks.
Rays pitchers have gone 10 straight games without allowing 10 hits or more in a game, while Rays hitters have gone 11 games without 10 or more hits.
Rowan Kavner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.