The Orioles are a huge draw at Tropicana Field.
OK, maybe not, but they have drawn the top two crowds to the Trop this season. Saturday night’s announced 24,327 was the stadium's second-largest crowd behind Opening Day against the Orioles on April 6. Forget that the Tampa Bay Rays received a considerable attendance spike from Saturday’s postgame Kacey Musgraves concert.
In between singing “Biscuits” and “The Trailer Song,” Musgraves – an up-and-coming country music artist – received a round of boos when she gave a shout out to Orioles right fielder Chris Davis in the middle of her concert.
Without mentioning Davis by name, she said that she was from the same area of East Texas as a player on the Orioles.
“Well, he was the one who hit the grand slam,” she said after the boos settled.
Keep in mind the true power of Kacey Musgraves. When the Orioles relocated their three-game series to St. Petersburg, Fla., in May because of the riots in Baltimore, the Orioles wanted this weekend’s series to be played at Camden Yards, essentially swapping the series.
But the Rays had already planned, promoted and sold exclusive ticket packages for Musgraves’ concert, which was tabbed to be one of the team’s best promotions of the summer. And she drew the second-largest crowd of the year.
Speaking of Davis, his third-inning grand slam in Saturday’s 5-1 win over Tampa Bay was his third since the beginning of the 2014 season, tied with Buster Posey, Brandon Moss and Devin Mesoraco for the most over that span.
Two of Davis' three came at Tropicana Field. He also hit a grand slam here on June 17, 2014 against former Orioles lefty Erik Bedard. That was the Orioles' last grand slam on the road before Saturday.
Orioles right-handed Miguel Gonzalez held the Rays scoreless until the eighth inning, when he allowed a solo homer to Rays catcher Curt Casali. That was the 18th homer that Gonzalez has allowed this season – passing Wei-Yin Chen for most on the team – but 11 of those homers have been solo shots.
Chen will go for his seventh straight quality start in Sunday’s series finale. He has allowed two runs or fewer in seven of his past eight starts, posting a 2.47 ERA during that time.
Still, Chen has lost his past two starts, mainly because the Orioles gave him just three combined runs of support over those two outings.
On Sunday, Rays left-hander Matt Moore will be making his fifth start back from Tommy John surgery. He has yet to throw more than 88 pitches or go more than five innings in a start, posting a 7.23 ERA in the process.