Longoria sets new career high with 34th homer

Longoria sets new career high with 34th homer

BALTIMORE -- Evan Longoria is having a special season. The veteran Rays slugger furthered that view in Friday's 5-4 loss to the Orioles with a two-run homer in the first inning. Not only did the home run mark the second consecutive night that Longoria homered in the first, it also gave him 34 for the season, establishing a new career high.

"It's definitely fulfilling for me to know whatever I set my mind to, I've proven to myself that I can go out and accomplish those things," Longoria said. "There's still some work to be done."

On Thursday night, Longoria hit a three-run homer in the first off Yovani Gallardo. Friday night's came blast with a man aboard off Ubaldo Jimenez and gave the Rays a 2-0 lead over the Orioles.

Longoria wrote down goals at the beginning of the season, the details of which he has not revealed. He did allow that he hasn't surpassed the home run number he wrote down for himself.

"But I'm getting close," he said. "Like I've said, it's nice to surpass that career high, for sure."

Longoria managed a smile when asked if he might have written down too low of a number for his home run goal.

"I haven't really given any at-bats away or let my guard down all year, so it wasn't like if I get to this number I'm going to stop trying or anything like that," Longoria said. "It was just a higher number than I had ever hit before, and it gave me a lofty goal to shoot for."

According to Statcast™, the exit velocity for Longoria's homer was 103.1 mph with a projected distance of 423 feet, which tied for his 11th longest home run of the season.

In addition to establishing a personal best, Longoria tied Jose Canseco (1999) for the single-season club record for home runs hit by a right-handed hitter. Carlos Pena holds the Rays record for home runs, with 46 in 2007. Pena ranks second on the list, too, after hitting 39 in 2009. Longoria tied Aubrey Huff (34 in 2003) for third place.

Longoria now has 19 career home runs at Camden Yards. Only three visiting players have hit more in the ballpark's 25-year history: Alex Rodriguez (34), David Ortiz (28), and Johnny Damon (22).

Of Longoria's 34 career home runs against the Orioles, 33 have come while playing third base, giving him the most home runs all time by a third baseman against the O's.

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.