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Update 2:51 Garza completed his gem as the Rays won 6-1, their first road sweep of the season. He allowed only the one hit and one walk, throwing 108 pitches in the first complete game of his major-league career. He struck out Paul Hoover to start the ninth, then struck out pinch-hitter Wes Helms, and retired Hanley Ramirez on a groundout.

struck out Pau

Update, 2:33
Garza just got three more outs, without a ball leaving the infield. He's faced 25 batters, one over the minimum, and allowed just a walk and a home run.

Update 2:14: Garza just lost his no-hitter when Hanley Ramirez homered on the first pitch of the seventh. The one hit was all he allowed, retiring the next three in order, and has a one-hitter through seven innings.

Update 2:05  Garza just got three more outs, the last a well-struck line drive to left by Marlins (and ex-Rays) pitcher Doug Waechter, to complete six innings without allowing a hit.

Update, 1:50 Rays starter Matt Garza has a n0-hitter through five innings, and has allowed only one baserunner, a fourth-inning walk by Jeremy Hermida.

The Rays go for what would be their first road sweep of the season today against the Marlins with closer Troy Percival back on duty and a different look to their lineup. With the early day game after the night game, and with a lefthander (ex-Ray) Mark Hendrickson starting for Florida, the Rays have Willy Aybar at first base, Jonny Gomes in rightfield and Shawn Riggans behind the plate.

There will be more changes on Friday in Pittsburgh, with new father SS Jason Bartlett expected to rejoin the team and 1B Carlos Pena - if all goes well during his rehab appearance tonight in Sarasota - coming off the DL (with INF Ben Zobrist likely to go back to Triple-A). There is also a chance, however, they could be without 2B Akinori Iwamura, who is waiting for a ruling on the appeal of his three-game suspension. Or MLB could wait and sideline him for the Boston series next week.

Of all the notes stemming from Wednesday's 15-3 victory and 10-run inning, the Rays came up with another one: It was only the second time in 2,903 interleague games that a team had a 10-run inning; the Cardinals did it against Oakland last year.

And in a related note, the Rays are now the 9th team in modern history (since 1900) to get 15 games over .500 (46-31) after finishing the previous season with the worst record in the majors.

The others:
Year  Team       High mark      Final record
2001 Phillies      +17  35-18       86-76
2001 Cubs         +19  62-43       88-74
1991 Braves      +27   94-67      94-68
1989 Orioles      +15   53-38      87-75
1988 Indians      +15  36-21       78-84
1967 Cubs          +17  46-29      87-74
1903 Giants       +29   84-55      84-55-3
1902 Browns      +19   78-57      78-54-4

Also, 2B Akinori Iwamura's errorless streak ended on Wednesday at 74 games. That was the sixth longest streak to start a season going back more than 50 years.

One bit of news from the Marlins side: ex-Ray Doug Waechter, who has been impressive in long relief duty, will now get the chance to pitch later in games.

Here are the lineups:
Iwamura, 2b
Aybar, 1b
Crawford, lf
Upton, cf
Longoria, 3b
Gomes, rf
Riggans, c
Zobrist, ss
Garza, p

Ramirez, ss
Hermida, rf
Cantu, 3b
Jacobs, 1b
Uggla, 2b
Gonzalez, lf
Ross, cf
Hoover, c
Hendrickson, p

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:36am]


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