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, Tampa Bay Rays beat Oakland Athletics 3-2 to split road series

OAKLAND, Calif. — The most important thing Matt Garza did in Sunday's 3-2 win — better than any of the 100 pitches he threw, or any of the ways he got 23 batters out — was to turn and walk away.

A questionable bases-loaded balk call by umpire James Hoye had just evened the game with the A's in the fifth inning, and there was potential for Garza to unravel, or worse, explode.

He strode toward the plate, arms out and eyes wide, seeking some form of explanation. Manager Joe Maddon — not allowed by the rules to argue a balk call — scurried from the dugout to at least make sure they weren't Garza's last words before an ejection.

Garza talked, he listened, he made it clear with his body language he didn't like what he heard. "I didn't feel I was in the wrong, but (Hoye) did," Garza explained. "It is what it is, and just had to keep going. Couldn't let that bother me."

And, in what was the significant moment of the day for the Rays, he didn't.

Garza got out of that jam, Evan Longoria delivered a huge two-run double the next inning and the dynamic bullpen duo of Joaquin Benoit and Rafael Soriano (with his league-leading 37th save) finished as the Rays went on to an important victory.

They improved to 76-48 (a pace for 99 wins) while remaining one game behind the Yankees in the American League East lead, and 5½ ahead of the Red Sox in the wild-card chase, with 38 to play.

Even as much as Oakland's Dallas Braden knew how unlikely the chances were for a repeat of his May 9 perfect game against the Rays — "Pretty insurmountable," he said — the afternoon began with an uncomfortable feeling as a couple of hard-hit balls by the Rays were caught and a well-placed bunt rolled foul in the first two innings.

"I think we just needed to get that first hit out of the way against Braden," Longoria said.

Sean Rodriguez took care of that when he opened the third with a ground ball that was too hot for diving third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff to handle, and Kelly Shoppach followed with a double to give them a 1-0 lead.

But Garza ran into his first bit of trouble in the fifth, allowing a one-out single and a walk, and Rodriguez's errant toss on a potential double-play grounder left the bases loaded and the top of the order coming up.

Neither Garza nor Maddon is sure exactly what happened next with an 0-and-2 count on Coco Crisp, but Hoye called a balk on Garza — the AL-high ninth against the Rays — that allowed the tying run to score.

"I was really confused by that," Maddon said.

Though Garza wasn't satisfied — or, in Maddon's 50-cent word, ameliorated — by Hoye's explanation that he moved after coming set, he didn't let it bother him.

"Garz tends to be emotional — not tends, he is," Maddon said. "And I thought he held it together pretty well."

Crisp ripped the next pitch, but first baseman Carlos Peña speared it. And after falling behind 2-and-0 then 3-and-1, Garza came back to strike out Daric Barton on a full-count slider to end the inning.

"That was a big moment," Maddon said. "I was impressed with his ability to go back and get a strikeout against a good hitter."

The Rays rallied the next inning as Longoria ripped a double that scored two.

With strong starting pitching, clutch hitting, strong defense and quality relief work, it was kind of the Rays' version of a perfect game.

"It was formulaic for us," Maddon said. "That's how we need to do business right there."

Marc Topkin can be reached at

Matt Garza, Tampa Bay Rays beat Oakland Athletics 3-2 to split road series 08/22/10 [Last modified: Monday, August 23, 2010 8:26am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  2. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

  3. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Erasmo Ramirez is not happy about moving back to the bullpen, and can you blame him? But that's the best move for the Rays now. He can fill several roles: long man, setup man, even closer in a pinch. The Rays need to settle the bullpen, and Ramirez has proven he's capable of doing that.

  4. Rays up next: at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Today: Off

    Up next: at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, PNC Park, Pittsburgh

  5. Rays blow another lead, lose rubber match to Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Orioles rallied past the Rays on Sunday, winning the rubber match of the three-game series 8-5.

    Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop (6) scores in the eighth in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.