Evan Longoria had a pretty good 28th birthday.
Before Game 3 of the American League Division Series against the Red Sox on Monday, the Rays' third baseman was given a guitar signed by Slash. The gift was courtesy of Longoria's girlfriend, Playboy model Jaime Edmondson:
Then he played in the actual game and did what he always does in elimination games: Prove to all us stat-nerds (hat tip, David Price) that "clutch" sure does exist.
Longoria was 1-for-5 with a score-tying, two-out, three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Rays went on to win in the bottom of the ninth, forcing a Game 4 on Tuesday.
But Longoria's good day at the plate (never mind at home) is par for the course. He's played in ten elimination games -- seven in the playoffs and three during the final days of the season. In those games he's batting .288 (13-for-45) with a .346 on-base percentage and .666 slugging percentage. He has five home runs and two doubles.
"Longo" wasn't alone in his celebration, though. Teammate Alex Cobb, who started Monday's game, celebrated his 26th birthday. Cobb pitched five solid innings, allowing five hits and three runs (two earned). Forgive the cliche, but he pitched better than his line indicates as he was hurt by some uncustomary sloppy defense from his fielders.
Cobb was in a good mood before the game:
Thank you for all the birthday wishes, Rays fans! You have been awesome all year long. Can't wait to hear the trop tonight!!!— Alex Cobb (@Acobb53) October 7, 2013
Chances are he -- and Longoria -- were in a pretty good mood after as well.