Move to top of lineup works well for Pena

Move to top of lineup works well for Pena

Move to top of lineup works well for Pena
ST. PETERSBURG -- A change in the lineup was just what the Rays' Carlos Pena needed.

The first baseman arrived to the clubhouse Tuesday to see his name at the top of the order, and he delivered going 2-for-5 and blasting a three-run home run 452 feet to center field. Pena said he believed the change helped provide a boost of energy for him and his teammates.

"Good things like this happen, not only individually, but as a team," Pena said about manager Joe Maddon's tactic. "We swung the bats great, we scored a lot of runs."

Entering the game, Pena was hitting .209 on the season and just .116 in May. With three RBIs on Tuesday, Pena now has 21 on the season. Pena added that if Maddon wanted it, he would welcome leading off again for Tampa Bay.

"He knows exactly what he's doing," Pena said. "He's looking to get me some better pitches, maybe my mentality changes because I'm in the leadoff spot and maybe a little more calm and more patient."

Maddon has not been afraid of leading his lineup with slumping players in the past, and each time it seems to have worked. Last season during rough stretches, Maddon batted both Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce at the top spot, and both players hit home runs.

"Overall, I think it was a great day," Maddon said of Pena's performance. "It's just about a mindset, it's just about what you're thinking and just change that a little bit."