A different Rays team took the field at Angel Stadium on Monday night, and by the end of the night, the Rays had given their third-year manager his first road win in Anaheim by virtue of a 13-4 drubbing of the American League West-leading Angels. The victory snapped the Rays' eight-game losing streak at Angel Stadium and moved the Rays to within one game of the first-place Red Sox in the American League East.
"Obviously, we've played a whole lot better this year," said Maddon in a mammoth understatement. "We have a lot more weapons."
Maddon made his bones with the Angels, with whom he was employed for 31 years, including the last 12 on the Major League staff leading up to his hiring by the Rays. While he admitted that "it's nice to get the win" at Anaheim, he maintained "there's no special significance for me."
"It's just that we played well," Maddon said. "In the past, we've lost some games here, but they've pretty much beat us here in the past. They're good. They're good at home and I know that.
"My bigger concern, more than getting a win here, is the fact we played a divisional champion-type team well, and [were] able to beat them at their home ballpark. That's what you have to do to at the end of the year to win, so the significant part about that is being able to beat the Angels at home, period."
Talent, in the form of speed, pitching and power, fueled Monday night's win, further personifying how far the team had come since Maddon's first year as manager of the club in 2006.
Edwin Jackson started for the Rays, and even though he exhausted his initial supply of runs, the Rays' hitters simply went out and got him some more.
The Rays staked Jackson to a 3-0 lead in the second when they connected for three consecutive home runs, a feat never before accomplished in team history. And not since April 18, 2000, had the Angels allowed three straight, which they did on that date in Toronto.
Evan Longoria started the home run parade when he led off the second with a shot deep into the left-field stands. Willy Aybar and Dioner Navarro followed with home runs to left field to make the score 3-0 Rays.
The Angels answered in the bottom of the second, when Gary Matthews Jr. singled home Vladimir Guerrero. Garret Anderson's third-inning sacrifice fly accounted for the Angels' second run and Torii Hunter hit a two-run homer in the fourth to put the Angels up, 4-3.
After that brief hiccup, Jackson began to pitch well and the Rays really began to hit, not stopping until they had accrued 18 hits on the night.
Navarro's two-run double keyed a five-run fifth to put the Rays up, 8-4. He added a single and another double to give him his second career four-hit game, as well as four RBIs.
Then there was Longoria, the poster child for the direction the organization is headed. Playing his first Major League game near his hometown of Downy, Calif., he tacked on another home run -- his 10th of the season -- and an RBI double to give him three RBIs. He also scored four times.
"Shoot, what a homecoming for me," Longoria said. "I had all my family and friends in; just a great feeling to be able to do what I did today."
Maddon offered a chuckle when asked about Longoria playing close to home.
"I would imagine his mom's an excellent cook from what I've seen," Maddon said. "That first ball was struck really well. He grew up around [the area] and he played around here; he just had a good feel for it. But that was truly a nice night at the plate for him -- the whole group. We just swung the bats well up and down the lineup. Played it hard again, and that's what I really like to see."
The Rays have now won all four games they have played against the Angels this season, having swept a three-game series from the Halos earlier in the season at Tropicana Field.
"[The Rays] keep making progress, and they're getting good pitching," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "They can pressure you on their offensive side. They had a good night tonight and we have to turn the page on it. They're doing a good job on us and we have to pick up our game."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.