Evan Longoria is starting to come through with runners in scoring position, and with no surprise, it's leading to good things for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tampa Bay looks for Longoria to lead it to a third straight victory Sunday against the visiting Texas Rangers.
Longoria went 2 for 3 with a three-run homer - his third in three games - in Saturday's 7-2 win. He's 8 for 18 with seven RBIs during a five-game hitting streak and has turned around his poor fortunes with runners in scoring position. He was hitting a respectable .274 overall prior to that five-game stretch, but was 1 for 16 in those situations before going 3 for 5 since Monday.
Longoria is also batting .364 at home compared to .234 on the road, and has hit .342 with nine home runs and 24 RBIs in his last 29 meetings with Texas.
Steven Souza Jr. also had a three-run shot while Asdrubal Cabrera hit a solo homer, a day after Brandon Guyer drove in three runs on one of Tampa Bay's two homers in an 8-2 victory.
The Rays (17-14) have eight home runs in four games after hitting two in the previous eight.
"We'll take those three-run homers every night, and then some," manager Kevin Cash told MLB's official website.
Texas has allowed eight home runs in its last five games.
Jake Odorizzi (3-2, 2.21 ERA) is expected to start, health withstanding. Odorizzi was pushed back from starting Saturday after being hit by a flu bug that has bothered other members of the team, including Longoria.
"We actually sent him home the last two days," Cash said. "Kind of got his medicine, got a little bit of throwing in. The good thing is he's kept his arm in shape. We'd much rather have a healthy Odo going out there than trying to force something (Saturday) and have to have people on standby behind him."
Odorizzi owns a 2.12 ERA with 11 quality starts in his last 12 home outings. He won both matchups with Texas last year, limiting the Rangers to two runs in 13 innings.
Texas (12-18) has totaled four runs in back-to-back losses after coming alive for 25 during a four-game winning streak. Carlos Peguero has been one of the few Rangers to stay hot, homering for the fourth time in five games Saturday.
They'll start Wandy Rodriguez (1-1, 3.12), who won for the first time in 11 starts Tuesday at Houston, giving up one run on a homer over eight innings with eight strikeouts in a 7-1 victory. It was his longest outing since 2012 and nearly matched the 9 1-3 innings he combined for in his first two starts.
Attacking the strike zone more aggressively was key for Rodriguez, who issued one free pass after walking eight in his previous two games.
"It's the fastball in play for strikes, but more than anything else it's the breaking balls that he threw for strikes also," manager Jeff Banister said. "He didn't waste a lot of his pitches."
The left-hander hasn't faced the Rays since 2011. Longoria is 3 for 8 off Rodriguez with a home run and double.
The Rays have won eight of the last 11 meetings.