Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays 6, Blue Jays 4

Hinske nearly hits for cycle as Rays beat Blue Jays, go to 4-0 at Disney

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Eric Hinske has had some memorable moments in his six-year career.

An AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2002. A World Series ring last year with Boston.

But when the 30-year-old joined the Rays this spring as a nonroster invitee, all he asked for was a chance.

He's making the most of it.

Hinske came a single short of the cycle Tuesday in leading the Rays to a 6-4 win over the Blue Jays in front of 8,269 in Champion Stadium at Disney's Wide World of Sports.

"I would have liked to hit for the cycle, but I'll take three hits and a win any day of the week," Hinske said.

The lively crowd, including many youngsters lining the leftfield berm, was a welcome sight for the Rays (9-11), who hope to increase their visibility in the region. Tuesday was the start of a second three-game series in as many seasons at their home-away-from-home.

"I think the fans are really into it; I'd like to see a few more show up," manager Joe Maddon said. "We had a couple green seats out there. Let's put some fannies in those seats, that'd be kind of nice."

Though the attendance was the lowest of the four games, the result was the same: a Rays win, which offered more bright spots than a bustling berm.

There was catcher Dioner Navarro, activated after a stint on the disabled list (finger cuts), coming through with three singles and two RBIs while throwing out an attempted basestealer.

There was starter James Shields (2-1) gutting out seven innings after struggling early for his first win since opening day. "When you don't have your best stuff, you have to pitch with your guts and your instincts," he said.

But Hinske stole the show against his former team, making up for a defensive miscue in the second. After Shields walked Lyle Overbay and Shannon Stewart to start the inning, catcher Gregg Zaun hit a grounder to Hinske, filling in for Carlos Pena (right hamstring tightness).

Hinske muffed the grounder, then threw wide of Shields covering first. On the next play, Hinske made a diving stop on an RBI fielder's choice by Marco Scutaro. But the earlier mistake still stung.

"He's a real pro; he was upset about it," Maddon said. "Then he came back and vindicated himself. It's a tribute to his professionalism, the fact he didn't cave."

Hinske helped the Rays bounce back with two runs in the bottom half. Evan Longoria's second homer of the season started it off. After Hinske doubled, Navarro knocked him in with a single.

Hinske had an RBI triple in a three-run fourth, then led off the sixth with his fifth homer. When he stepped to the plate in the eighth, Hinske had the cycle on his mind, having not completed the feat since Class A ball: "I went 4-for-6 in 11 innings." But lefty reliever Scott Downs struck him out swinging.

"I wouldn't trade last year for anything," Hinske said. "(But) I'm grateful to be here with the Rays. They've given me a chance over here. I just hope not to disappoint."

Joe Smith can be reached at

Hinske nearly hits for cycle as Rays beat Blue Jays, go to 4-0 at Disney 04/22/08 [Last modified: Thursday, April 24, 2008 11:48am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Fennelly: Bucs' Roberto Aguayo has his backers, no matter how many kicks he misses


    He was perfect Friday, and not just because he didn't have to kick.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Roberto Aguayo (19) takes a photo with fans following the first day of training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, July 28, 2017.
  2. Rookie Kendell Beckwith pleased with first Bucs practice


    Bucs rookie linebacker Kendell Beckwith is eight months and a week removed from November surgery to repair a torn ACL, so there was a proud sense of accomplishment in getting himself healthy enough to be on the field for the opening practice of training camp Friday.

    Bucs inside linebacker Kendell Beckwith (51) defends tight end Cameron Brate (84) during the first day of training camp. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Criticism part of the game for Bucs' Gerald McCoy, who is chasing 'ghosts'


    Who crossed the line with their criticism of Gerald McCoy?

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy jokes with teammates during the first day of training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, July 28, 2017.
  4. 2-year-old girl shows football team how its done


    ST. PETERSBURG — Football players may dread summer workouts, but not two-year-old Sophie Rosendale. She loves joining her father, St. Petersburg offensive line coach Mike Rosendale, three times a week for the Green Devils summer conditioning. Not only does she shout encouragement like her dad, she also straps on …

    Sophie Rosendale, 2, front, warms up with offensive lineman during practice at St. Petersburg High School, Wednesday. Rosendale is the daughter of offensive line coach Mike Rosendale. "She has been coming to practice for about one year," said Rosendale who has been a coach at the the school for 10 seasons. "She likes to show the players the proper techniques." [Photo/  Mike Rosendale]