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Longoria snaps slump with long ball

Longoria snaps slump with long ball

ST. PETERSBURG -- Evan Longoria got out of the gate quickly this postseason with two home runs in Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the White Sox.

Since then, his fortunes have not been quite as rosy, as he went 1-for-16 in the Rays' next four games, including an 0-for-4 on Friday night in Game 1 of the AL Championship Series against the Red Sox.

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If Longoria's first at-bat of Game 2 is any indication, his luck might be changing. His two-run homer against Red Sox ace Josh Beckett erased an early 2-0 deficit on Saturday.

Longoria's Friday-night frustrations included swinging at and popping up a 3-0 pitch to make the third out in the sixth and hitting into an inning-ending double play in the eighth to end a Rays scoring threat.

Longoria did not dispute that he's struggling, but he did not sound rattled about his situation.

"You hit skids, that's just the way it goes," Longoria said. "It's just unfortunate it has to come at a time like this. But I'll get through it. It's just one of those things. It usually only takes one or two at-bats to get through it."

When asked if he's seen anything different in Longoria since Game 1 of the ALDS, Rays manager Joe Maddon said he had, narrowing down the problem to the rookie's pitch selection.

"Yeah, he's just been swinging at bad pitches," Maddon said. "Listen, there's nothing wrong with his swing. It's just a matter of what you're swinging at. And that's all I'm seeing. Again, I just don't want him to apply too much to himself right now. It's about all of us. I just think where he likes his pitch right now, he needs to be a little more selective."

Longoria is a legitimate candidate to earn the AL Rookie of the Year Award after hitting .272 with 27 home runs and 85 RBIs for the Rays this season.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["league_championship_series" ] }
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