Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Garza strong for seven as Rays beat Marlins again

ST. PETERSBURG — Matt Garza played nice Saturday. And he pitched even better.

Showing no signs of the temper and emotions that led to two heated confrontations with catcher Dioner Navarro in his last start, and all the signs of maturity and success, Garza led the Rays to a 4-1 victory over the Marlins.

The 21 outs he got over seven strong innings were impressive. But it was how he handled things after one of the three batters who got a hit that was most telling.

Garza had Florida's Matt Treanor down 0-and-2 in the third inning and didn't get a close call for strike three, then Treanor blooped a ball that dropped in shallow right. It was a point of potential combustion, but Garza didn't do anything — didn't stomp, swear or spit — except focus on getting the next out. And then he did.

"We talked specifically about controlling what you can, understand that things are going to happen behind you," manager Joe Maddon said. "He's made some really good points of realization. He's really come to grips in a very short period of time.

"I'm not saying we're over the hump yet, but this was a nice step in the right direction. He's kind of like a recovering emotionalist."

Once again, there was a lot to like, before a loud Tropicana Field concert-night crowd of 31,195.

Jonny Gomes homered, Jason Bartlett had the big hit and the Rays swiped four more bases to push their major-league-high total to 79. Centerfielder B.J. Upton (a long run and catch) and third baseman Evan Longoria (diving across the foul line and throwing from his knees) made dazzling plays, and leftfielder Justin Ruggiano made the highlight videos by diving over the leftfield wall in pursuit of a foul balls. Troy Percival got his 15th save with another 1-2-3 inning, his 17th in 24 outings.

It was the Rays' 40th win in 68 games (10 fewer than ever and 37 quicker than last year) and put them on a pace for a remarkable 95-win season as they remained 1½ games behind Boston in the AL East and leading the wild-card race by 3½, pending Oakland's late game.

Garza and Navarro said they'd been laughing about what happened last Sunday in Texas, but there clearly was a serious challenge for the 24-year-old right-hander acquired from Minnesota.

"It was a huge step for me in the right direction," Garza said. "There were times where I got a little upset, but I was able to step off and regroup and then come back to get the next guy."

As much as their spats stirred up, Navarro said it also enabled him and Garza to come to an arrangement.

"He understood where I was coming from and we stuck together," Navarro said. "I was on top of his butt today a little bit. I recognize every time he's going to get into that thing so I don't let it get to that point; I catch him before."

And if he regresses, Navarro said he'll do whatever's necessary, even if means another face-to-face encounter.

"Believe me, if I've got to do it again, I'll do it again," he said. "I know this kid is going to help us through the whole season, and if he does what he did tonight we're in pretty good shape."

Marc Topkin can be reached at

Rays 4

Marlins 1

Look who's 40!

The Rays on Saturday got their 40th win in their 68th game, much earlier than in most seasons.

YearGame for 40th win












Source: Rays

Garza strong for seven as Rays beat Marlins again 06/14/08 [Last modified: Monday, June 16, 2008 11:49am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021


    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  2. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb made mistakes on back-to-back pitches to the first two Angels hitters Tuesday, allowing homers to Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout, but otherwise gave the Rays another solid outing, working into the eighth and scattering seven hits.

  4. Rays journal: Brad Miller won't return from DL when eligible

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — 2B Brad Miller (left abdominal strain) will not return from the 10-day disabled list Friday as he hoped. While he took ground balls Tuesday, he has yet to resume running.

    Rays second baseman Brad Miller, left, with infielder Tim Beckham, says he’s letting his left abdominal strain “cool down” before testing it by running.
  5. USF baseball rallies to beat Tulane in AAC tournament opener


    CLEARWATER — With Tulane runners on first and second and two out in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday, USF's dugout watched as burly American Athletic Conference co-player of the year Hunter Williams' fly to left went deep.

    USF outfielder Chris Chatfield is congratulated by third-base coach Chris Cates after hitting a three-run homer in the third inning, tying the score at 3.