Rays tie club mark with three straight homers
Loney, Myers, Fuld hit successive blasts, with rookie receiving curtain call
ST. PETERSBURG -- It seemed fitting, somehow, that Wil Myers found himself squarely in the middle of some Rays history during his Tropicana Field debut Monday night, crushing the second of three consecutive homers in Tampa Bay's 4-1 win over Toronto.
James Loney, Myers and Sam Fuld each bashed a home run in the second inning to tie the club record with three in a row, the first time the Rays have gone back-to-back-to-back at Tropicana Field. The only other time the Rays hit three consecutive home runs was June 9, 2008, when Evan Longoria, Willy Aybar and Dioner Navarro turned the trick against the Angels in Anaheim.
And right there in the middle of the action was Myers, taking his much-anticipated first home at-bat and, shortly thereafter, his first home curtain call.
"That's right up there. To see a young man come in like that and do that on his first at-bat, I thought it was outstanding," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "The crowd reaction was really wonderful also, and Wil responded. Like I said, he's not really impressed with this whole thing yet."
But Tampa Bay's one-out charge began with Loney, who hammered a 1-1 pitch from Blue Jays starter Esmil Rogers to right-center field, giving the first baseman nine home runs for the season while putting the Rays up, 1-0.
"It was electric. It was fun," Loney said. "It was good to see those guys after me."
Up came Myers, and the rookie sensation did not disappoint. He crushed a 1-2 pitch that cleared the wall in center and struck the wall of the center-field restaurant with such force that it ricocheted back onto the field. For all the expectations heaped upon Myers since he came to the Rays in an offseason trade, it's possible that the right-handed slugger has exceeded them in his first week in the Majors.
"I guess, in some respects," Fuld said. "Hitting a grand slam [at Yankee Stadium] and then hitting a ball 1,000 feet to center field, it's pretty impressive."
Myers became the third Rays player to homer in his first Tropicana Field plate appearance, joining Terry Shumpert (March 31, 2003) and Joe Dillon (May 30, 2009), and the first player in franchise history with seven RBIs in his first eight career games. And his accomplishments haven't gone unnoticed by the fans, who responded with a standing ovation -- and a curtain call -- for his first Tropicana Field home run and the second home run of his Major League career.
"I wasn't sure what, really, to do," Myers said. "I heard everybody cheering, so I thought that might be my cue to go out there. It was really cool. The fans were great."
There's been plenty of talk about Myers' bat speed since Spring Training. Far fewer words have been spoken about the sound off the bat of Fuld, who strode to the plate after Myers' mammoth shot.
"Mine's more like a thud," Fuld said. "His is like, 'Whack.' It's true."
But Fuld connected on a 2-0 pitch and blasted it into the right-field stands for his second homer of the season and only the sixth of his career.
"It was exciting, needless to say. I think it happened so quick. I guess when you're in the middle of it, you don't quite appreciate how significant it is," Fuld said. "But I was just trying to feed off the momentum. By the time it got to me, after Wil's home run, the place was going crazy. It was pretty fun. It was cool.
"I didn't know what was going on. There were like strobe lights going off on the catwalks. I just had no idea. I almost stepped out and said, 'Can we kind of wait until the strobe lights stop going off?' I'm glad that I didn't."