06/17/09 1:45 AM ET
Rays roll to sixth straight win
Tampa Bay sets club record with 12 extra-base hits
By Cheng Sio / MLB.com
The Rays snapped the Rockies' 11-game winning streak, which was tied with a streak put together by the Red Sox for the longest in Major League Baseball this season.
"I know they had been playing at a very high level," manager Joe Maddon said. "It's hard to sustain that for a real long period of time. It's something that's just going to happen."
The Rays are also a season-high four games over .500. The club can thank third baseman Evan Longoria, who played the role of Evan Almighty to propel the Rays.
After B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford struck out swinging to start the game, Longoria hit a broken-bat first-pitch home run to left field off Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa. Longoria said the crack in his bat ran through where the Louisville Slugger label was located.
"He threw, I think, eight or nine pitches to the first two guys," Longoria said. "I was just thinking he was going to think I was going to be taking. I went up there and tried to put a good swing on the ball."
Longoria's home run began an onslaught on De La Rosa, as the Rays scored four runs in the second inning and two more in the third. Gabe Kapler, who had a two-run triple in the second, hit a solo home run to give the Rays a 7-1 lead and knock De La Rosa out of the game. The Rays finished with a club-record 12 extra-base hits.
"Right off the bat, I think [Longoria's home run gave] everybody a little bit of confidence going up there hacking, trying to hit the ball hard," second baseman Ben Zobrist said.
Kapler, Zobrist and Upton all had three hits. Kapler and Zobrist fell a double shy of hitting for the cycle while Upton was a triple away. Kapler had four RBIs for the sixth time and he owns a four-game home run streak.
"When he gets hot, he gets kind of torrid," Maddon said of Kapler.
Right-hander Jeff Niemann (6-4) pitched five solid innings, allowing three earned runs and five hits for the win. De La Rosa (2-7) received the loss after allowing seven earned runs on eight hits in 2 1/3 innings. Niemann is the first rookie starter to stop a winning streak of 11 games or more since Ben Sheets did it for Milwaukee in 2001.
Cheng Sio is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.