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Longoria no stranger to Game 162 heroics

Longoria no stranger to Game 162 heroics


TORONTO -- Evan Longoria has been there before. He's the one everybody in baseball thinks about when the conversation is Game No. 162.

That's because he came through with the walk-off home run in the final game of the 2011 season that put the Rays into the playoffs.

In fact Longoria's six career home runs in "Game 162s" (or final games of the regular season) ties him with St. Louis great Stan Musial for the most in Major League history. Longoria hit three home runs in last year's finale and two in 2011.

The unquestioned leader of the Rays managed a smile when asked about the must-win situation the Rays find themselves in heading into the final game of the 2013 regular season.

"I was thinking about it," Longoria said. "It's nice to play 162 games that are relevant, you know. ... We can't say we've never been there before. And I like our chances. Unfortunately we ran into two pretty good pitching performances [the first two games against the Blue Jays]."

A Rays fan would be pleased to witness Longoria's demeanor on the eve of the biggest game of the season.

"I'm excited for tomorrow," Longoria said. "Of course it would be nice to not have to worry about tomorrow and have it locked up. But at the same time, [the Rangers and the Indians] are playing their butts off. You have to give them credit and really just handle business ourselves. Go out there and win the game and not worry about watching the scoreboard. I'm excited. I'm really excited."

Longoria noted that the Rays' body of work to date is not enough.

"Again, it's been a great year for us," Longoria said. "I think the main thing has to be not to be satisfied with just calling it a good year. I think we're in a good spot.

"We like to make it interesting, that's for sure. There's no lack of intensity ... excitement. I'm sure everybody will be on the edge of their seat tomorrow if they're watching it on TV or if they're here at the ballpark. I think everybody in here is pretty calm and confident. Like I said, we've been there before. And hopefully we can draw from that."

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

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