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)

Matt Garza pitches first no-hitter in Tampa Bay Rays history

ST. PETERSBURG — Matt Garza knew there was something going on. He was pretty certain he'd allowed just the one baserunner, on a second-inning walk. And though the Rays dugout wasn't overly quiet, it sure seemed to him like nobody had moved from where they were the previous inning.

"The ninth inning I roll out there," Garza said, "I look up, and I go, 'Oh, crap.' "

The chance to throw a no-hitter, the first in Rays history and the first of his career, was staring at him from the Tropicana Field scoreboard, just three outs away. And Garza, despite not feeling good physically or sharp mechanically all night, wisely decided, with a 5-0 lead against the Tigers before 17,009 on Monday night at Tropicana Field, to stick with what had worked.

"I just told myself, well, we can go about this two ways — I can try not to get contact and get in trouble, or go at these guys and if it happens, it happens," he said. "And if it doesn't, I've got a guy that comes in in the ninth inning (closer Rafael Soriano) and shut the door for me."

Soriano didn't need to stir. Garza got Don Kelly on a groundout to second, catcher Gerald Laird looking at strike three then pinch-hitter Ramon Santiago on a fly to rightfield to complete the masterpiece.

Helped by some tremendous defense, Garza faced the minimum 27 batters, striking out six while throwing 120 pitches (and only 40 balls). He retired a team-record 22 straight after the second-inning walk to rookie Brennan Boesch.

When it was over, the fifth no-hitter of the season, teammates raced from the field and the bench to form a circular celebration around him.

"Good for him," centerfielder B.J. Upton said. "That was probably one of the coolest things I've ever been involved with."

The Rays (60-38) had reason to be so happy: They had been on the wrong side of two-hitters already this season, and that's after another last July. "We needed one," Garza said. It's just the third time in major-league history a team has been involved in three in the same season.

Garza, now 11-5 with a 4.06 ERA, had help, of course, from Matt Joyce's sixth-inning grand slam against his former Tigers teammates that broke up the dueling no-hitter by Max Scherzer to a collection of great defensive plays behind him.

Topping the list was a running, leaping grab by rightfielder Ben Zobrist of Danny Worth's liner to end the third. "Nobody will remember that one because it happened so early in the game," catcher Kelly Shoppach said. "But now that there's a no-hitter, it was that one that saved the no-hitter."

Third baseman Evan Longoria made one, snatching Ryan Raburn's hot shot to start a double play that ended the second and erased Boesch. So did first baseman Carlos Peña, snagging a shot by Will Rhymes, and shortstop Jason Bartlett. Upton ran down several long drives, including a fifth-inning blast by Miguel Cabrera on Garza's one mistake of the night. Leftfielder Carl Crawford made a huge play in the eighth, snagging a wicked line drive off Cabrera's bat that he appeared to lose in the lights.

"All night the guys were making plays," Garza said. "I don't think anybody didn't get used tonight."

Joyce would have made a tremendous story on any other night, coming through in his first game against the team that traded him (for Edwin Jackson in December 2008) in dramatic fashion, a two-out, full-count grand slam that struck off the rightfield foul pole.

"No pressure," Joyce joked. "You're facing your old team, and you kinda want to prove something."

Among other things, he was lucky. "I was praying running down the line," Joyce said. "It ended up hitting the foul pole and everyone went nuts."

It was at that moment, Rays manager Joe Maddon said, that he felt Garza had a shot to finish what he started. "I really felt that would be a moment that could really pump the adrenalin a little bit more," Maddon said.

What made Garza's performance even more outstanding was how bad he felt.

"I kept having to remind myself between innings that mechanically I'm still off," he said. "I was falling off the mound on a lot of pitches, my fastball was running away from me, breaking balls in the dirt most of the night.

"I just had to keep reminding myself to stay under control, to keep making pitches, to keep going for Shoppach's glove."

Shoppach said it wasn't as bad as Garza made it sound, though he did rely primarily on his fastball (101 of the 120 pitches), not throwing a curve until the 18th batter. "We didn't need a whole lot of them," Shoppach said.

The Tigers — their lineup depleted with injuries to three starters — noticed but couldn't do anything about it. "He just threw fastball after fastball up top," manager Jim Leyland said, "and we just didn't get to it."

Garza's gem continues an odd season that also includes some of his worst starts, with Maddon saying he hopes Monday night's performance gives Garza the confidence to get on a roll.

Garza wasn't sure exactly what to think. He did a series of interviews on the field, got doused with a beer shower by his teammates when he ducked into the clubhouse (13 cans of Bud Lite and Mich Ultra) then did his formal interview session.

Shoppach claimed Garza was fibbing a bit, that he was well aware of his accomplishment while it was under way. Upton wasn't as sure.

"I don't know; he was locked in today," Upton said. "He didn't say much in the dugout. He was kind of doing his own thing. And when he pitches like that, you leave him alone."

Marc Topkin can be reached at

Matt Garza pitches first no-hitter in Tampa Bay Rays history 07/26/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 12:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays morning after: Secret to Alex Colome's success is staying cool, calm, collected


    The ninth inning couldn't have started much worse for Rays closer Alex Colome on Tuesday, who took over with a 6-4 lead and quickly allowed a single and a double to bring the tying run to the plate.

  2. How will former USF assistant Tom Allen fare at Indiana?


    Big Ten Network analyst Gerry DiNardo doesn't sound particularly optimistic about Tom Allen's chances of keeping Indiana competitive in his first year as the Hoosiers' head coach.

    "He has some challenges," DiNardo said.

  3. ESPN cites safety in removing Robert Lee from UVA broadcast due to name (w/video)


    ESPN has removed an announcer from its broadcast of the University of Virginia's first football game next month because he has the same name as a Confederate general memorialized in statues that are being taken down across the country.

    Louisville lines up for a play against Virginia during an NCAA college football game in Charlottesville, Va., in 2016 ESPN broadcaster Robert Lee will not work Virginia's season opener because of recent violence in Charlottesville sparked by the decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. A spokeswoman for ESPN says Lee has been moved to Youngstown State's game at Pittsburgh on the ACC Network on Sept. 2. The network says the decision was made "as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name." [Associated Press]
  4. Celtics were only team in position to deal for Kyrie Irving


    The Cavaliers found themselves in a seemingly impossible situation when it came to trading Kyrie Irving. Not only did Cleveland need to try to extract the kind of price a team looks to get to trade its star — some combination of cap relief, young players and draft picks — it also needed to acquire talent to …

    Kyrie Irving, left, is guarded by Stephen Curry during the NBA Finals last season. [Associated Press]
  5. Browns, who visit Bucs this week, take a courageous step toward social change


    CLEVELAND — The laughingstock of the league during a 1-15 season in 2016, the Browns took a dramatic step forward Monday night.

    Browns players kneel as others stand to support their circle during the national anthem before Monday night's preseason game against the Giants. [Associated Press]