ST. PETERSBURG -- Trayce Thompson, who Tuesday night drove in as many runs as the Dodgers scored in the previous three games combined (four), said he wasn't shocked at the sudden offensive surge that powered the team to a 10-5 Interleague win over the Rays.
"We've been due for that," said Thompson, whose two-run single in the fifth was just as important, but certainly not as spectacular, as his two-run moonshot home run that never came down, landing on the catwalk above left-center field at Tropicana Field.
Talk about due, Howie Kendrick shared the offensive spotlight with Thompson. Kendrick went 4-for-5, contributing his first extra-base hit (a double) and RBIs of the season (two) in raising his average from .143 to .197.
The Dodgers also got a three-run blast from similarly slumping Yasiel Puig, a solo shot from Joc Pederson and just enough pitching from Scott Kazmir and the bullpen to help put a 1-6 homestand in the rear-view mirror.
"It's weird, you get on the road and you're a little more relaxed," manager Dave Roberts said. "We really needed this night for our confidence. Hitting's contagious, so hopefully there's a carryover to tomorrow."
Hitting can also be mental, as Kendrick can attest. He hit .295 a year ago for the Dodgers, was unable to cash that into a robust free-agent market, came back to the Dodgers on a team-friendly two-year deal and missed the first week of the season healing from a strained left calf.
Roberts praised his work ethic and complimented Kendrick for swinging down on the ball, while Kendrick said he's kept his normal work routine, and it's the mental part of the game that requires the most attention. He said he has spoken regularly with noted sports psychologist Dr. Ken Ravizza ever since his Minor League days with the Angels.
"Seems like the drought this time was a lot longer, but the biggest thing is stay confident and stay in the game," said Kendrick, 1-for-16 on the team's previous homestand. "We've all struggled in the past, but mentally if you can ride it out and stay consistent, over time it will smooth itself out. I'd rather go through it early in the season than late in the season.
"You know your numbers. Every guy in here knows his numbers. But you can't worry about that. You know what they'll be by the end of the year. It stinks while you're going through it. But if you stay positive, knowing you've done it time and time again, it'll change. The way we think is the way we are."
At the urging of teammate Enrique Hernandez, Thompson said he might make the climb up to the catwalk on Wednesday to track down the homer he hit, only the sixth to land on the catwalk. It came on a 2-0 pitch from Matt Moore in the second inning, one out before Pederson's homer.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.