Rays’ Longoria makes homer history with No. 20

BOSTON — David Ortiz wasn’t the only slugger to reach a milestone Thursday night at Fenway Park.

While the Boston Red Sox celebrated the fact that Ortiz, with a first-inning home run, tied Ted Williams’ franchise record with nine 100-RBI seasons, Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria clinched his seventh 20-homer season, a mark of his consistency.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Longoria, whose blast off Red Sox starter Wade Miley fueled a three-run sixth inning that led to a 4-2 victory. “Again, it’s just one of those things I’ll be able to look back at the end of my career and tell my kids about it. I guess just reflect on it when I get a chance to. The names are awesome, and it’s just an honor to be included in that group.”

Longoria, who broke in with the Rays in 2008, is the fourth third baseman to have 20 homers in seven of his first eight seasons, joining Eddie Mathews, Chipper Jones and Scott Rolen.

Over the years, Longoria has done a fair amount of his damage against the Red Sox, an American League East rival of the Rays. In fact, Longoria has hit safely in 14 consecutive games at Fenway Park, one shy of the run by the New York Yankees’ Carlos Beltran for the longest active streak by a visiting player.

“I like playing here,” Longoria said. “I think it’s a great atmosphere for baseball. Coming into an environment like this, knowing it’s hostile. Fans are into it. It helps you get up, and it helps with just playing your best, I guess.”

According to MLB.com, Longoria is the seventh AL third baseman with at least seven 20-homer seasons. The others: Graig Nettles (10) and Adrian Beltre, Alex Rodriguez, Dean Palmer, Eric Chavez and Gary Gaetti, who have seven apiece.

“I think it’s a testament to how durable he is and to how good a player he is,” Rays hitting coach Derek Shelton said. “And he’s done it in situations, in some difficult situations. But I think it’s a testament to him, how much he’s on the field and how good a player he is.”

Sports Xchange

BOSTON — David Ortiz wasn’t the only slugger to reach a milestone Thursday night at Fenway Park. While the Boston Red Sox celebrated the fact that Ortiz, with a first-inning home run, tied Ted Williams’ franchise record with nine 100-RBI seasons, Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria clinched his seventh 20-homer season, a mark […]

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