Rays attract biggest crowd since 2006 for Pride Night
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays felt it was a great night, even though they lost.
Jeff Samardzija threw a four-hitter and the San Francisco Giants won their sixth consecutive game Friday by beating the Rays 5-1 on Pride Night, before the biggest regular-season crowd at Tropicana Field in a decade.
The announced attendance of 40,135 was the first regular-season turnout over 40,000 at the Rays' ballpark since opening day in 2006 against Baltimore (40,199). Tampa Bay entered averaging 16,037 in home attendance this season, second-lowest in the majors.
"The crowd was big, that's for sure," Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. "I saw we raised so much money. That's great for all of the tragedy that's taken place over there over the last last week."
The Rays dedicated this year's event to the victims of Sunday's mass shooting in Orlando. The team on Tuesday made all available tickets $5, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Pulse Victims Fund.
It was announced by the team that more than $300,000 was raised.
"It's just a tragedy what happened, and to see how people came together, united, and poured out their hearts for what happened in Orlando really made it a special night," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Chris Archer (4-9) allowed four runs and six hits in six innings for the Rays.
"I'm glad we were able to have that great of a crowd and the proceeds go to such a great cause," Archer said.
Brandon Crawford and Gregor Blanco had two RBIs apiece and Brandon Belt homered for the NL West-leading Giants, a season-high 16 games over .500.
Samardzija (8-4), who was 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA in his previous three starts, retired 22 of 23 before Brad Miller homered with two outs in the ninth.
"The guy had our number," Cash said.
Major League Baseball vice president of social responsibility and inclusion Billy Bean threw the ceremonial first pitch.
"Today will be just a great moment if baseball can make everybody smile, enjoy a great baseball game, feel a little closer to one another," Bean said. "It's not specific to one person or another, or race or gender or color or sexual orientation or gender identity. It's about people feeling connected and supportive."
The Rays wore "We are Orlando" T-shirts during batting practice and the hats of their one-time Double-A team, the Orlando Rays, in the game.
Kevin Kiermaier of the Tampa Bay Rays wears a We Are Orlando t-shirt during warm-ups in honor of the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting during the Rays' Pride Night before the start of Friday's game against the San Francisco Giants at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Crawford drove in two with a double in the first before Blanco made it 4-0 on a two-run single in the fourth. Belt hit a solo drive in the seventh.
Rays: 3B Evan Longoria (left forearm soreness) said he is not at 100 percent but started after missing one game. ... RHP Brad Boxberger (left oblique) will start playing catch Monday.
Rays: 3B Joshua Lowe, the Rays' 2016 first-round draft pick from Pope High School in Georgia, signed and will begin his pro career with the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Rays. ... RHP Steve Geltz was recalled from Triple-A Durham. RHP Ryan Garton was optioned to the International League club Thursday.
Miller has two homers in 18 at-bats following a stretch of 83 without one. He ended the Rays' stretch of 31 homer-less innings.
Giants: RHP Albert Suarez (2-1) is the expected starter Saturday in place of RHP Jake Peavy (stiff neck), who is now scheduled to start Sunday.
Rays: Matt Moore (3-4) will start Saturday's game.