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)

Tampa Bay Rays' Matt Garza slows Texas Rangers bats long enough

Matt Garza grinds through six innings before Ian Kinsler greets him with a homer to start the seventh inning.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Matt Garza grinds through six innings before Ian Kinsler greets him with a homer to start the seventh inning.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Centerfielder B.J. Upton said that when the Rays found out right-hander Matt Garza would be on the mound for the win-or-go-home Game 3 of the ALDS, they were happy.

"He's definitely the guy you want in that situation," Upton said.

Garza certainly delivered, helping Tampa Bay live another day with another strong postseason performance Saturday against the Rangers.

Garza allowed just two runs over six-plus innings, then the struggling Rays offense came alive in a 6-3 victory at Rangers Ballpark.

The 2008 ALCS MVP said he was "chomping at the bit" for the opportunity.

"He pitched phenomenal (Saturday night)," fellow starter James Shields said. "He's a gamer, he's definitely a clutch pitcher, he's proven that time and time again."

Despite all the pressure on the Rays, Garza said the key, for him, was not to do too much.

"Do what I had to do and not try to reach for something that's not there," he said.

"It's way easier said than done, especially for a guy like me," Garza said. "I'm very emotional, I let my emotions go. But (Saturday) I knew what was going on, I knew I had to settle down and calm down, so I took a lot of deep breaths, took a lot of times off the rubber. And we get to play (today)."

In the first two games of this division series, the Rays rotation — their stabilizing force all season — wasn't at its best. Ace David Price gave up five runs and nine hits in Game 1, and Shields, though he pitched better than his line (four hits, four earned runs) indicated, was pulled after just 4 1/3 innings. In each of the first two games, the Rangers built a sizable lead.

But on Saturday, Garza handcuffed the Rangers' potent offense for the second time this season. Though Garza wasn't dominating, striking out just four, he held Texas to just one earned run on five hits. The Rangers did go ahead 1-0 in the third inning after a leadoff double by Mitch Moreland. He advanced to third on a passed ball by rookie catcher John Jaso and scored on a groundout.

But the only pitch Garza said he would want back was the 3-and-2 fastball to Ian Kinsler, who hit a homer to lead off the seventh inning.

That would be Garza's last pitch, but by then he had set the tone, and the Rays' bats awoke.

Rays reliever Randy Choate said: "To have a guy who can shut that offense down, or hold them to two runs after six innings, is pretty impressive."

Tampa Bay Rays' Matt Garza slows Texas Rangers bats long enough 10/09/10 [Last modified: Saturday, October 9, 2010 10:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the 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.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'

    Blogs

    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. 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.