Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

In front of family, a special day for Rays' Ryan Garton

Ryan Garton of Mitchell High gets his first major-league save, his ninth inning including a strikeout of Angels superstar Mike Trout.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Ryan Garton of Mitchell High gets his first major-league save, his ninth inning including a strikeout of Angels superstar Mike Trout.

ST. PETERSBURG — In the top of the ninth inning on the Fourth of July, the final Angels batter popped up in foul territory. Rays first baseman Logan Morrison squeezed the ball for only this team's third win in 19 games. The rookie pitcher near the mound, a local, pounded his mitt.

Ryan Garton, closer.

You heard me.

"Hopefully, Ryan Garton has a smile ear to ear and doesn't wipe it off all night," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

Garton, who attended Mitchell High in New Port Richey, recorded his first major-league save, before family, on the Fourth of July at Tropicana Field. A relieved Rays bullpen momentarily caught its breath in a 4-2 win.

Garton, who came in with a 5.11 ERA, got two outs. One was Angels superstar Mike Trout, who struck out looking with a man on. The rookie then kept Albert Pujols, 575 homers and counting, inside the fences, limiting him to a sharp single, which would have been a RBI double if the ball hadn't struck third base umpire Mike Estabrook.

Nobody said it needed to be a work of art. And Garton never backed down. No fear. The ball from the final out was in his glove in his locker after the game.

"I was super excited I did my job," Garton said. "As long as we're getting the win. That it happened to be a save, too, is awesome."

For once, the Rays no-lead-is-safe bullpen didn't crumble. It's underwhelming and overexposed. It's been lousy. During the 2-16 stretch leading into Monday, the pen had pitched to a 9.29 ERA. Think about that. Monday, Erasmo Ramirez, Dana Eveland and Garton finished the thing. The Nasty Boys.

Just last Thursday, Garton, called up twice by the Rays this season, was part of the problem. He gave up four hits and that led to four earned runs as the pen disintegrated to blow a 7-2 lead in the ninth in a grisly loss the Tigers. It began the four-game slide that ended Monday. After last Thursday's game, Rays teammate Steve Pearce took a knee and talked with Garton at the rookie's locker.

"I was at a loss of words for what happened," Garton said. "But a lot of guys, including Steve, came and told me you're going to get more outings, put it behind you, you've got the stuff to be at this level. That's why I came to the clubhouse the next day with my head up."

"Up" was the operative word against Trout.

"We talked before I went in, with (Rays pitching coach) Stan (Boroski)," Garton said. "I tried to stay elevated with my fastball and it worked out well. I was happy to get one of the best hitters in the game out."

Still …

"I don't know if he envisioned closing out a game today for us," Cash said.

Who does? With Alex Colome out, no bullpen roles are set in concrete. More like quicksand.

The pen was helped by another strong turn by starter by Matt Moore, who pitched into the seventh and gave up only two runs. Why, Moore is throwing so well that he might be good enough to get traded.

Garton, 26, isn't taking his future for granted. Nor is his family. There was another large, loving contingent for him in Monday's crowd of 14,532. Mom, stepdad, brother, nephews, sister-in-law. It's still a dream sequence for Garton. He's living at his family home in the Lutz area.

"It's crazy," he said. "I wake up in the bed I grew up in. … It's a weird feeling, waking up, driving to the Trop, going across the bay. It's very surreal. You never think of it happening, but it's happening."

He said, "You never know with the way the Rays use their minor leagues. You go back and forth, back and forth. But it's a big thing, being here."

Monday was bigger.

Ryan Garton, closer.

In front of family, a special day for Rays' Ryan Garton 07/04/16 [Last modified: Monday, July 4, 2016 9:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No. 20 UCF beats Navy 31-21 for first 6-0 start

    College

    ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Central Florida finally had been tested in a tight game, and someone wondered if coach Scott Frost enjoyed seeing how his team reacted to the situation.

    Freshman  Otis Anderson gives UCF plenty of reasons to celebrate after scoring the final touchdown of the game to clinch bowl eligibility for the Knights.
  2. No. 8 Miami survives Syracuse test, beats Orange 27-19

    College

    MIAMI GARDENS — By Miami's new standards, this game was decided early.

    Sophomore Travis Homer on Miami’s hot start: “We’re 6-0, but that’s not our final goal. That’s not going to get to our head.”
  3. Stroud: Bucs need to stop digging holes on road

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Okay, all you road scholars, why do the Bucs keep falling behind in games not played at Raymond James Stadium?

    HARVARD SQUARED: Tight end Cameron Brate catches a TD from Ryan Fitzpatrick.
  4. Topkin: A busy offseason for Rays approaching as postseason winds down

    The Heater

    Tuesday's opening of the World Series means the end of the postseason is in sight and that the offseason maneuvering, which starts five days after the final out, can soon evolve from talk to action.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi smiles at Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer after Mauer broke up Odorizzi's no-hit bid with a single during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
  5. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-Louisville

    College

    1. One of the many hard-to-believe stats about FSU's underperforming defense: DE Brian Burns led all freshmen nationally with 9 ½ sacks last year; his first one this season came midway through the second quarter Saturday.

    TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 21: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals runs the ball into the endzone for a touchdown during their game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) 775042617