Giants' early runs plenty for sharp Shark vs. Rays
By Andrew Astleford and Sam Blum
ST. PETERSBURG -- With the Rays hosting their best regular-season crowd in more than 10 years at Tropicana Field, Jeff Samardzija had his best start of the season in the Giants' 5-1 victory, San Francisco's sixth straight win.
In his eighth career complete game, the righty allowed four hits and a two-out homer in the ninth, mowing through the Rays lineup quickly and silencing much of the capacity crowd.
"He was more like himself," Bochy said of Samardzija, who had struggled his last three starts. "He attacked the strike zone. He threw a lot of pitches. I thought he mixed it up better. … Just a really nice job by him."
Rays manager Kevin Cash saw the dominance work against his team.
"Not a ton to talk about tonight," Cash said. "We just got beat. The guy on their mound was really good. We just really couldn't find a way to get guys on base."
The Giants struck first with two two-out runs in the first inning. The Rays had their best scoring shot in the second inning when Logan Morrison and Steve Pearce had two singles with no outs. But no runs scored there and Samardzija allowed only two more hits the rest of the night.
Chris Archer was inefficient for the Rays, laboring through six innings while allowing six hits and four runs (three earned). The seldom-used Enny Romero came in and allowed Brandon Belt's solo homer over two innings. And Steve Geltz who was recalled from Triple-A earlier in the day, had a 1-2-3 eighth inning in the loss.
Brandon Crawford doubled home two runs in the first inning. Then with the bases loaded in the fourth inning, Gregor Blanco lined a pitch up the middle to double the San Francisco lead.
Brad Miller was all that separated Samardzija from a shutout. He hit an opposite-field homer with the Rays down to their last strike. The bullpen got warming right after his hit, but Longoria grounded out to limit the Rays' threat to one solo blast.
"I thought [my command] was pretty good," Samardzija said. "I thought it got better as the game went on. … I was just trying to get back to where I usually am."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Silencing the crowd: Much of the loud sold-out crowd was silenced in the first inning when the Giants put together a two-out rally. A walk to Belt was followed by a double from Buster Posey. Crawford brought them both home with a two-run double.
"He really bears down," Bochy said. "When it's time to get a big hit, he has a good idea of what he's doing, what he's looking. He shortens up and makes sure he puts in play. He's got a history of getting big hits for us."
More issues for Archer: The right-hander continued to struggle, now having allowed at least three earned runs in five of his past six starts dating to May 22. The Giants set the tone with their two-run first inning, and more trouble found Archer with San Francisco's two-run fourth. He allowed three walks with seven strikeouts.
"After every game I analyze what I can do better," Archer said.
One shot: The Rays got the first two men on in the second inning. Morrison singled through the right side on a ground ball, then Pearce lined a single into center. But the next three batters were all retired. Tampa Bay wouldn't threaten the Giants' lead again.
Shark Tank: The Rays' offense was silenced against Samardzija. The one run marks the fewest since they were shut out in a loss to Arizona on June 7. They narrowly avoided their fourth shutout defeat this year when Miller cracked his homer.
"It was fairly early that we knew it was going to be a bad night for us," Rays catcher Curt Casali said.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Rays sold out Tropicana Field on Pride Night, which honored the victims of the shooting in Orlando on early Sunday morning. The attendance was 40,135, marking the largest regular-season crowd at Tropicana Field since April 10, 2006, against the Orioles, the home opener that year. It was the first time since the 2010 American League Division Series that the Rays had a paid attendance of over 40,000 people.
The Rays announced more than $300,000 will be donated to the Pulse Victims Fund from the game Friday.
"That was a cool game. That really was. It actually brought a tear to my eye watching that video before the game. … Today was more than baseball. It was about honoring those who were taken from us too early in a terrible scenario that nobody can really put in words." -- Casali, describing the atmosphere of the Pride Night game at Tropicana Field
"[A large crowd is] pretty normal for us. I'm sure it was nice, really, for the Rays. For what they came here for, what they acknowledged before the game, it was a really nice evening. It was just a tragedy what happened and to see how people came together and united and poured out their hearts for what happened in Orlando, it really made it a special night." -- Bochy
WHAT'S NEXT Giants: Right-hander Albert Suarez takes the mound for San Francisco at 1:10 p.m. PT on Saturday in the second game of a three-game series at Tropicana Field. Suarez, a former Rays Minor League player, will make his third start this season. He's 2-1 with a 3.33 ERA in eight appearances.
Rays: Left-hander Matt Moore will pitch for Tampa Bay on Saturday when the Rays host the Giants at 4:10 p.m. ET. Moore is coming off his best start of the season, when he went seven scoreless innings against the Astros on Sunday. Moore is 3-4 with a 5.05 ERA on the season.