09/27/12 8:30 PM ET
Longoria recalls 2011 magic, hopes for more
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
As any Rays fan can recall, the Rays overcame a 7-0 lead against the Yankees on Sept. 28, 2011, before Evan Longoria's home run in the bottom of the 12th gave the Rays an 8-7 win and a spot in the playoffs as the American League Wild Card.
"It's a special day," Longoria said. "It's going to be a special day for the rest of my life. This year, I really haven't given it much thought. I've been pretty focused on what's going on in here on a daily basis and how I can help us win in the situation we're in now.
"That situation is probably a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I'll never be able to replicate again. But I think this year is a great opportunity for us to make new memories."
When pressed further about what stands out in his memory from that night, Longoria noted that overall the day was so crazy that it was hard to pinpoint one moment. Finally, he said that crossing home plate was special.
"Just seeing the pure joy in the rest of my teammates' faces," Longoria said. "And kind of the unbelieveable-ness of the whole situation -- if that's a word -- the shock and awe factor of everybody's faces and the tone of voices and the reactions of everybody. I'll never forget how special that was."
When it was pointed out that Dan Johnson was in the White Sox dugout, Longoria smiled. Of course, Johnson hit the game-tying home run for the Rays in Game No. 162.
"It's eerily ironic, I guess, for him to be on the other side," Longoria said. "We're hoping he's on the losing end of these next four. ... We have a lot in front of us, a lot to accomplish over these next seven days, so we have to keep our focus up."
Longoria smiled when asked if he would walk Johnson if he were manager Joe Maddon and Johnson came up in a crucial situation.
"You know, [Johnson] has a knack for getting big hits," Longoria said. "So, if he's in a situation where he has a chance to do some damage to us -- they're lineup is pretty potent over there, but he'd be a guy I'd definitely have my eye on."
Martinez undeterred in desire to manage
CHICAGO -- Rays bench coach Davey Martinez found out after Wednesday night's game that he did not get the job as the new manager of the Astros.
The Astros hired Nationals third-base coach Bo Porter, but Martinez saluted the Astros for the class they showed during the process.
Martinez received a call from Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow after the Rays boarded the bus following Wednesday night's win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
"Houston has a great oganization," Martinez said. "Some fantastic people and I wish them the best."
Not getting the job did not change Martinez's resolve to one day manage in the Major Leagues.
"Eventually, I want to manage," Martinez said. "If it were sooner, great, but just because I didn't get the Houston job doesn't mean that I don't feel like I can't manage.
"I know one day I'm going to manage. When the opportunity rises, it's going to be the right fit. And everybody's going to be happy."
When asked about other possible openings, Martinez said that his focus remains on what's happening with the Rays.
"Getting back to the playoffs and enjoying the moment right now that we're in," Martinez said. "Right now, if you can't be excited about what we're doing here, this has been great. I tell the guys, 'When you're playing for something in September, it's awesome, you know."
Rays' pitching staff rewriting record books
CHICAGO -- Rays pitchers struck out 12 batters Wednesday night in Boston, the 58th time this season they have struck out 10-plus batters in a game, a new Major League mark breaking the old mark of 57 set by the 2003 Chicago Cubs.
Entering play Thursday, the Rays lead the Major Leagues in ERA (3.24), opposing average (.230) and are third in strikeouts (1,317, first in the AL while setting a new single-season AL mark).
The last AL team to lead the Majors in all three categories was the 1947 Yankees.
The 1999 Red Sox are the only staff in the last 25 years to lead the AL in all three categories.
The Rays' current .230 opposing average would rank as the lowest by an AL team in the DH era.
CHICAGO -- Following the Rays' 4-2 win over the Red Sox on Wednesday night, 10 Rays rookies dressed in 1970s Jane Fonda-style workout clothes and danced a routine to Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" in front of Fenway Park's Green Monster.
Stephen Vogt was among the group and offered his critique.
"Most attractive, hands down, Chris Archer," Vogt said. "He was scary good. He's a good-looking man, so therefore he's a good-looking woman. Most into it dancer would be Alex Cobb. He definitely stole the show."
But according to Vogt, Desmond Jennings, who is not a rookie, but had to dress up for his third consecutive year, provided the highlight of the routine.
"The moment of the dance was Desmond Jennings' back flip," Vogt said. "The shear athleticism, in a leotard, to be able to pull that off."
Jennings said he didn't remember the last time he had done a back flip.
"I used to do it all the time when I was younger," said Jennings, who obviously remembered that he had been forced to dress for a third consecutive year then added: "... Hope I don't have to do it again."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.