The familiar violin solo from Tantric's "Down and Out" filled Tropicana Field on Tuesday night and Tampa Bay Rays fans stood and cheered as ol' No. 3 walked to the plate to begin the second inning.
Evan Longoria's familiar face was back in the lineup after missing more than three months with a left hamstring injury.
"It's been a long time and it's good to see him back," starting pitcher James Shields said. "He was filled with smiles so that was good to see."
Longoria was a welcomed addition to an offense that has been mostly down and out, a big bat in the heart of the order to give opposing pitchers cause to think.
Longoria downplayed talk of his being the "savior" of the offense and the season, saying that he only hoped to be a spark.
The Rays' offense, which hadn't scored a run since the sixth inning Friday night, showed some spark the very inning Longoria finally came to bat, putting together enough hits and enough sacrifice flies to beat the visiting Toronto Blue Jays, 4-1, at the Trop.
"I'll tell you what, it seemed like the guys had a little different spark for some reason," Shields said. "I don't know if it's because Longo's back. Everyone is just happy he's back. We swung the bats well. We made some contact. There were good pitches that we were hitting."
Longoria was 1-for-3 with an RBI as the Rays snapped a two-game losing streak by scoring more runs than they did in the three-game weekend series against the visiting Orioles.
"Longo, it's just great to have him back in the spot," manager Joe Maddon said. "You can see everyone else around him, it always looks a little bit better."
An RBI single by Sean Rodriguez in the second inning snapped the Rays 22-inning scoreless drought.
Back-to-back sacrifice flies in the third by Longoria with the bases-loaded and Jeff Keppinger gave the Rays a 3-0 lead. Ben Zobrist finished the scoring with an RBI double in the fifth inning.
So, to recap, the Rays went 22 innings without scoring a run. Then Longoria stepped to the plate in the second inning and the Rays scored four times over the next four innings.
"I thought the offense was kind of perky," Maddon said.
Shields made it all work with another solid outing, winning consecutive starts since winning four in a row from April 11 to May 2.
He wasn't quite as sterling as his previous start when he shutout out the A's on three hits in Oakland, but it looked awfully familiar, kind of like the ones who was twirling last season and again in April when, well, a healthy Longoria was playing third base.
"It thought he was good, good stuff," Maddon said. "And eight innings is always good."
Shields held the Jays to two hits over eight innings, with one of those hits being a leadoff home run by Colby Rasmus in the fourth inning that trimmed the Rays lead to 3-1. That was the only run Shields has allowed in his past 17 innings. He's given up only five hits during that span.
This wouldn't be a bad time for Shields to get on a roll, similar to the one that carried him to 16 wins in 2011 and to a t-0 record to begin this season.
"I hope so," he said. "Hopefully I get on a little roll here. These last two months are important and I want to step up for the team."
Fernando Rodney pitched a scoreless ninth to set the franchise record for consecutive scoreless innings by a reliever at 22, one inning shy of Shields's record for consecutive scoreless innings by any Rays pitcher.
The story, thought, was Longoria, who was as happy to be back as his teammates and the Rays fans.
"There was nothing about (Tuesday) that was negative," Longoria said. "We got a win, which was important, and I got an at-bat with the bases loaded and came out with a good result. There were no setbacks. I felt great. It was a good day."