As a gesture, it was a fine one.
As a healing moment, it worked.
As a celebration, it made sense.
But as a baseball game, there was not much for the Tampa Bay Rays to take pride in Friday night. The Rays were clobbered, 5-1, by the San Francisco Giants and Jeff Samardzija.
Offensively? The Rays managed only four hits, and they scored when Samardzija was one strike away from a shutout.
Pitching? Chris Archer gave up two more first-inning runs and four overall (three of them earned) before departing after six innings.
It left one of the Rays’ largest crowds, in excess of 40,000, feeling a little flat.
Archer gave up back-to-back doubles in the two-run first. But the runner that seemed to bother Archer was a two-out walk to Brandon Belt. Archer lost his ninth game, tying him for last in the American League.
“I thought he threw the ball all right,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “The walk in the first was kind of telling. You get the first two outs, then it’s a walk, and before you blink your eyes you’re down 2-0. We’ve got to prevent those big innings from happening, and it starts with the third batter to walk.”
That was enough for the Giants. The Rays had back-to-back singles to start the second inning, but Samardzija worked his way out the trouble.
“I don’t really think about it (his first-inning troubles) that much,” Archer said. “I just — after every game — I analyze what I can do better. I think if I don’t walk that guy then things are a little bit different. But Buster Posey hit a good pitch there, and then the pitch that they scored on was not a very well- struck ball. I feel like if I force them to put the ball in play, I’m able to minimize the damage and keep it a little closer from the begin- ning. … I rarely change my mentality. The plan is always to be aggressive, to always attack and we’re human sometimes we don’t hit our spot and that’s what happened to that batter in the first inning.”
The Rays play the Giants again today with Matt Moore on the mound facing Jake Peavy.