Dickerson's big dinger busts his longest slump

Dickerson's big dinger busts his longest slump

ANAHEIM -- Corey Dickerson broke out of his slump in a big way Friday night when hit a three-run homer in the first inning.

Dickerson's homer came against Angels starter Cory Rasmus and gave the Rays a 4-0 lead en route to a 5-2 win.

He entered Friday night's game in the midst of an 0-for-23 slump, the longest hitless streak of his career. The prospects of breaking out didn't look promising when he batted with two outs and two on in the first when he fell behind, 0-2.

The hard-swinging left-hander changed everything when he swung at a 92 mph Rasmus fastball. Once the ball landed in the right-field stands, Dickerson had his sixth home run. According to Statcast™, the blast had an exit speed of 104 mph and traveled a projected 413 feet from home.

"I was just trying not to swing at a bad pitch," Dickerson said. "A pitch I didn't think that I could hit. I just let my athletic ability and my hand-eye coordination react."

Dickerson's blast was fitting since the last hit before his hitless streak was a home run against the Yankees on April 24.

Rays manager Kevin Cash spoke about why he had continued to stick with Dickerson despite his slump.

"I think Corey, he got off to a good start," Cash said. "He was hitting the ball out of the ballpark. ... There was still some hard contact and some just misses. Then it turned into, for about a week there, he tried to do too much.

"I just think he's so valuable for us going forward. The intent is to get him right back to where he is comfortable and doing what he did tonight, hitting it out of the ballpark for us."

Dickerson obviously has appreciated the faith Cash and company have shown in him.

"[Cash] told me they got me for a reason," Dickerson said. "They know I can hit. Just because I go through a little spell of trying to hard and thinking too much. ... They believed in me and I have a ton of confidence in myself also."

Eleven of Dickerson's 16 hits this season have been for extra bases. Following Friday night's game, he sounded as though he's ready to get down to business and give the offense a boost.

"I felt great coming into today," Dickerson said. "I was energized. I basically let all my other at-bats go, mentally. All I want to do is have fun with my teammates. Be the old me, not try to critique, or change my swing or anything. Just go out there and be Corey."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.