Longoria won't let loss ruin his season

Posted: October 30, 2008

Tampa Bay Rays rookie third baseman Evan Longoria is considered one of the future stars of the game, but he won't have fond memories of his first World Series.

The Phillies eliminated the Rays, four games to one, with last night's 4-3 victory at Citizens Bank Park that ended a dreary Series for Longoria.

He began the World Series batting cleanup, hit fifth last night, and managed just one hit in 20 at-bats with two RBIs.

Considering that he had swatted six home runs in the first two playoff series, and that he had hit 27 home runs and collected 85 RBIs in 448 regular-season at-bats, his World Series showing was a huge disappointment.

"I can't be ashamed of my performance," Longoria said in a subdued Rays locker room after the game. "I kept swinging the bat and didn't get the results."

Longoria vowed that he won't let the World Series ruin what was otherwise a spectacular year, one that included an appearance in the All-Star Game.

"I'm not going to go home in the off-season and sulk about it, what I did or didn't do," he said. "I left it all out on the field."

Praising the champs

Rays manager Joe Maddon had nothing but praise for the Phillies. During his postgame news conference, he congratulated the new World Series champions.

"I really like the way they play," Maddon said. "They play hardball the right way. They do things properly and right. . . . It's truly a wonderful team and deserving to win the World Series."

Baldelli goes yard

One of the most inspirational stories this postseason continued when Rays rightfielder Rocco Baldelli tied the score with a home run in the seventh inning.

It was Baldelli's first World Series hit and his second postseason homer. He also hit one in the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox.

Baldelli missed more than four months this season due to mitochondrial disorder, a metabolic condition that causes muscle fatigue. It forced him to spend the first 116 games on the disabled list.

The home run provided a bittersweet moment for Baldelli.

"It was nice at the time in that situation, but, obviously, like everyone else in this room, you would trade every hit you got to be on the other side right now," Baldelli said.

Where's the power?

The Rays set an American League postseason record with 26 home runs in 16 games. The old mark was 24, set by the Anaheim Angels in 2002.

Yet during the World Series, Tampa Bay's power wasn't often on display.

The Rays hit four home runs against the Phillies. In contrast, the Phillies clubbed nine homers against the Rays.

Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or mnarducci@phillynews.com.

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