ST. PETERSBURG -- When the deed was over, Rays manager Kevin Cash sat in his office revisiting the damage. He spent the past two hours, 45 minutes watching Giants right-hander Jeff Samardzija polish off a complete-game one-run, four-hit mastery of Tampa Bay's lineup.
Some days, there are complex reasons why a team experiences defeat in an exhausting season. On this night, after Samardzija toyed with Rays batters in a 5-1 Giants victory at Tropicana Field, an easy explanation sufficed.
"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."
It was that simple for the Rays' offense Friday. If it weren't for Brad Miller's solo home run to left-center field with two outs in the ninth inning, Tampa Bay would have been tagged with its fourth shutout loss this season. The Rays mustered just four hits and two runners left on base against the right-hander, who received his first victory since May 24 against the Padres. He snapped a three-start stretch in which he went 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA.
"He was really good," said Rays catcher Curt Casali, who went 0-for-3 with one strikeout. "He's got an abnormal delivery that keeps you off-balance just enough to kind of mess with you a little bit. He's got a crossfire angle to his ball, then he can backdoor a two-seamer, which is really hard to do. He was able to execute pretty much all his pitches tonight, so kudos to him."
Cash said Samardzija's cutter was particularly effective. Samardzija threw 115 pitches with 74 for strikes. He faced just 30 batters. The Rays had no answer, and the struggle became obvious early on their way to being held to the fewest runs since they were shut out against Arizona on June 7.
"He threw me some really good pitches," Casali said of his strikeout in the third. "Slider down, dotted fastball away, then he blew me away with a fastball up. So he definitely got to me."
Samardzija burned many more. Sometimes, there's not much to be said.
"The guy had our number," Cash said. "You tip your cap and move on."
Andrew Astleford is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.