There are times when this sport that we all love (even when the sport doesn't seem to love us back) ends up meaning more than the results on the field. When the game itself works to heal, to escape, and to share in something that brings a community together.
We saw that power in a sold out Tropicana Field with people wearing shirts that proudly displayed "We are Orlando".A community coming together on Pride night to root on our team, to support our friends, our family, and our neighbors.
On to the game
Archer came out looking like he had his slider locked in well in the 1st. However, a 2-out walk to Brandon Belt, and back-to-back doubles for Buster Posey (hey, did you know the Rays could have drafted him?) and Brandon Crawford, got the Giants on the board first.
Archer would cruise through the 2nd and 3rd , but run into more trouble in the 4th.2-outs with a runner at 1st became runners at 1st and 2nd with just 1-out after a catcher's interference call on Curt Casali. A wild pitch and a blooper into the shallow outfield later, and the Giants would add two more making it 4-0.
Archer ended the game striking out 7 through 6 innings, giving up 4 runs (3 ER). The off-speed and breaking stuff showed signs of vintage Archer, but the command still left something to be desired. Against a good team like the Giants, you need to be extra sharp, and San Fran made the Rays pay with some very good hitting making the most of their limited opportunities.
Enny Romero would take the mound in the 7th. After two groundouts, Brandon Belt would take Romero deep for a 2-out HR to right-centerfield. Aside from the big fly, Romero looked very sharp, K'ing 4 over 2 innings of work. Very encouraging to see this version of Romero again.
The Rays had trouble breaking through against Jeff Smardzija. There were some well struck balls, especially from Longo who had two absolutely smoked liners right at gloves.
Rays biggest offense chance would come in the 2nd inning, with back-to-back singles from Logan Morrison and the red hot Steve Pearce. Unfortunately Jaff Decker's deep fly to dead center fell about 7 feet short of the wall and into Denard Span's glove.
While the Shark struck out only 4 batters, he also gave up no BBs and only 4 hits en route to a complete game. However, that route took a slight detour at the very end to avoid the exit towards Shutout-ville.
Brad Miller wasn't going to let this game end in a Rays shutout. He was not going to let the fans go home completely empty handed. Miller sent a screaming liner to the LF wall that just kept carrying by sheer force of will over the fence.
The off the field importance certainly triumphed over what happened on the field. In baseball terms it was just one game out of 162 in a long season. For real life, it was an emotional night for our region to take time to remember, to reflect, and to enjoy the simple pleasures of this silly little game that we love.
#Rays announce that donation will be in excess of $300,000 to Orlando shooting victims fund from tonight's game— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) June 18, 2016