Rays, Garza shut out Rangers
ARLINGTON, Texas - Matt Garza had to settle for his second career shutout after making a bid for the first no-hitter in Tampa Bay history.
Garza didn't allow a hit against the slumping Texas Rangers until a debatable call with two outs in the sixth inning, then finished with a two-hitter as the AL East-leading Rays won 7-0 Friday night.
Meanwhile, a Tampa Bay lineup missing injured stars Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford hit four home runs in 4 2-3 innings off Kevin Millwood (6-7), who was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list to start.
Texas got its first hit when Ian Kinsler hit a looping flyball into short center that ricocheted off the glove of charging outfielder Justin Ruggiano. The play was almost immediately ruled a hit, and any questions about that costing Garza a no-hitter were erased when Josh Hamilton led off the seventh with a solid single up the middle.
Both of Garza's shutouts have come in his last four starts. But the 24-year-old Garza (10-7) had allowed nine runs in 10 2/3 innings in his two previous starts since shutting out Toronto with a five-hitter July 29.
Garza struck out nine and walked two while throwing 78 of 119 pitches for strikes in his third complete game and joining Andy Sonnanstine and James Shields as 10-game winners for Tampa Bay. None of the Rangers' four base runners got past first.
The Rays (74-47) have a 3 1/2-game division lead over Boston, which was rained out at home against Toronto on Friday night.
Texas (61-62) was shut out for the second game in a row and the fourth time in eight games - after being held scoreless only once the first 115 games. The Rangers dropped below .500 for the first time since June 20.
Willy Aybar homered on the first pitch of the fourth inning, his ball into the right-field corner barely clearing the wall.
Carlos Pena made it 2-0 in the fifth when he hit his 24th homer, and Millwood was gone after Eric Hinske and Gabe Gross hit back-to-back shots. Hinske hit a two-run shot before Gross hit a ball that skimmed the top of the left-center wall.
Millwood, the Rangers' No. 1 pitcher coming off his second DL stint because of a strained right groin, allowed five runs and 10 hits with seven strikeouts and one walk in 4 2-3 innings.
After Hamilton walked with two outs in the first, Garza retired 15 straight batters before Kinsler broke the no-hit bid. Ruggiano, who had replaced B.J. Upton in the field at the start of the inning, ran a long way and got his glove on the ball but couldn't hold on to it.
Garza stood on the back of the mound for a second before slamming the rosin bag to the ground and kicking the dirt. He then got Michael Young on a flyball to end the inning.
Texas lost 10-0 Thursday night at Boston, ending a three-game sweep by the Red Sox, who had 10-run and nine-run innings the first two games.