MIAMI -- David DeJesus concluded his weekend in Miami with a bang, blasting a three-run homer on Sunday that helped propel the Rays to an 8-5 win at Marlins Park.
Despite playing in a National League ballpark where the DH rule is not applicable, DeJesus got a start in left field on Sunday. Manager Kevin Cash explained that he liked the matchup and regular right fielder Steven Souza Jr., had a scheduled day off.
The veteran outfielder came up big on Friday night with a pinch-hit, three-run double that helped the Rays score seven times in the seventh inning.
On Sunday, DeJesus came through with two on and one out in the fifth, this time after falling behind 0-2 to Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez. DeJesus jumped on the right-hander's next offering, sending a blast to right that cleared the wall for his first home run of the season.
"The at-bat before, I swung at the first pitch trying to be too aggressive," DeJesus said. "I was like, 'let me just work the count.' He wasn't throwing his 96 like he was last year. So I'm just like, 'let me work it, get a couple of pitches.' But I got down 0-2 right away. Like me and [hitting coach Derek Shelton] were talking. He likes the front door -- the two-seamer -- with two strikes. And he threw that pitch and I was able to just keep it fair."
Ironically, DeJesus said Friday night's double was a better struck ball than Sunday's home run.
"But I was able to backspin it a little bit and it was able to go out," DeJesus said. "It was one of those moments where it kind of changed the game. They just tied it up and that gave us a three-run lead right there. And we got behind Nate [Karns], he did a great job out there."
DeJesus also made a stellar catch while playing left field. With runners at the corners and one out in the bottom of the fourth, Ichiro Suzuki drove a ball toward the gap in left-center field. But DeJesus dove to his left to make the diving grab.
DeJesus spent the winter hearing trade rumors in which he was involved. Now the Rays are six games into the season, and he's made some major contributions.
"David's a huge part of our team," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Obviously now, with some of the injuries, what he's bringing and what he's providing has been amazing. He is a veteran. He's a pro. And he's handled everything in stride. He'll be back for us on a regular basis in Toronto. It was just a little tricky with no DH here [in Miami]."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.