Bronx continues to bring out best in Longoria

Bronx continues to bring out best in Longoria

NEW YORK -- Friday night belonged to Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who played perhaps the final game of his career, but Evan Longoria tried to steal the show in the early going.

The Rays' third baseman has always loved to hit at the new Yankee Stadium, and he reaffirmed that fact in the first inning of a 6-3 loss while facing Yankees starter CC Sabathia.

Matt Duffy had just grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to clear the bases when Longoria stepped to the plate and fell behind in the count, 0-1. The Yankees left-hander came back with a changeup, and Longoria hammered the offering deep into the left-field stands to give the Rays a 1-0 lead.

"I think it was just a pitch he left up," Longoria said. "I was kind of out in front of it, but I was able to stay through it."

The homer gave Longoria 15 in his career at the new Yankee Stadium, tying him with David Ortiz for second most at the park by a visiting player. Jose Bautista, who has 17, holds the top spot on the list.

"It's a good ballpark to hit in," Longoria said. "I just think that has a lot to do with it. It's a great atmosphere. You always feel like you're engaged in the games. And the games have been close. It's just a fun place to play.

"I've been in the division a long time -- my whole career, obviously. I guess they come when they come, and this is a ballpark I feel pretty comfortable hitting in."

Longoria has 31 career home runs against the Yankees. Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson (34 homers) is the only third baseman to have hit more home runs than Longoria has against the Yankees.

"If you play long enough and you're a home run hitter, you approach those milestones," Longoria said. "I love Brooks Robinson. ... I didn't get to see him play. Any time you can get close to something he did, it's special."

In the third, Longoria batted with two aboard and singled to right to drive home Bobby Wilson, putting the Rays up, 2-1.

Longoria's RBI single

Longoria has 43 career RBIs at the new Yankee Stadium, which ranks first among visiting players.

Longoria now has 512 career extra-base hits in 1,158 games while playing third base, and A-Rod hit 513 in 1,193 games at third base, 34th on the all-time list among third basemen.

Longoria "seems to rise to the occasion quite a bit," said Rays manager Kevin Cash, referencing the Yankee Stadium crowd of 46,459. "Obviously, the crowd, sometimes … negative energy is better than no energy."

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.