Rays go back-to-back-to-back vs. Angels

Rays go back-to-back-to-back vs. Angels

ANAHEIM -- The second inning of Monday night's Rays-Angels game brought a first for the Rays, when Evan Longoria, Willy Aybar, and Dioner Navarro connected for home runs in consecutive at-bats.

"I didn't expect any of that," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "To hit home runs at night like that in this ballpark, they just don't go to left field. The back-to-back-to-back, quite frankly, was a surprise. But I'll take it."

Never before in Rays history had the team hit three consecutive home runs. And not since April 18, 2000, had the Angels allowed three straight, which they did on that date in Toronto.

Longoria's home run came first, when he hit a 1-0 pitch from Angels starter Joe Saunders deep into the left-field stands, reminding everyone of the 452-foot blast he hit Friday night in Texas.

"I don't know [which home run went farther]," Longoria said. "It's hard to tell with the parks. I mean, I hit that one pretty much as good as I could hit it too. I don't know, they say not too many balls get hit over that bullpen, so like I said, 'I hit it good.'"

Aybar then stepped into the batter's box and ran a 1-0 pitch from the left-hander into the Angels' bullpen over the left-field fence.

Saunders got the count to 3-2 against Navarro before the Rays' catcher connected with the payoff pitch and drove the ball on a line over the left-field fence.

Each time, after congratulating the player for hitting a home run, the Rays' players hustled back into position in the dugout, hoping to keep the positive karma going.

"Gabe Gross came out of the dugout and said, 'Man, they're putting a little pressure on us now,'" Navarro said. "After [Navarro hit his home run], I walked by [Gross] and said, 'Now the pressure's on you.'"

Gross followed Navarro and grounded out to first base to end the streak, drawing sarcastic applause from the partisan Angels crowd.

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