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)

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Garza's no-hitter impresses nearly everyone — except his son

ST. PETERSBURG — The celebratory drinks with some teammates were fun, the volume of congratulatory messages enough to send his iPhone into electronic shock, the wish-I-was-there tears from his wife Serina touching.

But the moment Matt Garza will remember most after making history Monday night by throwing the first no-hitter in Rays franchise history came from his phone call with 8-year-old son Matthew.

"My son is the funniest kid ever," Garza said. "When I threw against the Marlins, he told me, 'Man, dad, you suck — one inning, seven runs. I could do that.' … I call him last night and I said, 'Matthew, did you watch the game?' He's like yeah. I said, 'Nine innings, no hits. Who sucks now?' And he goes, 'You're still not an All-Star.'

"He's a chip off the old block. It was good though. He's a competitor, and that's the way I like it. He keeps you grounded. He's like, you're not the best yet. So don't start floating away yet. I think that was the coolest thing, because for me it's him getting into baseball and watching it."

The rest of the crowd wasn't as tough, as Garza was widely lauded and feted.

He got the final game ball from Ben Zobrist, who caught the last out, and the lineup card from manager Joe Maddon. The Hall of Fame will display Garza's cap (after the season) and a ball from the game. Commissioner Bud Selig sent a letter of congratulations that will be presented today.

Garza — who wasn't aware of any calls from the late-night talk shows or the Popeye's chicken folks — didn't plan to keep any other souvenirs of the night.

"Just the memory," he said.

That part was still a bit fuzzy when he left the stadium and went out for a while with a few teammates. It was only when he got home (balloons taped to the door by a neighbor), plopped down in front of the TV and clicked on some of his favorites — That '70s Show and George Lopez's Lopez Tonight — that it hit him what he had accomplished.

"Out of nowhere, I just went, 'I threw a no-hitter,' " Garza said. "I was pumped, and just had a big sigh of relief."

He wasn't the only one relieved by the end of the night. Official scorer Bill Mathews, faced with the potential of a double no-hitter into the sixth inning, said it would have been a difficult call had leftfielder Carl Crawford not caught Miguel Cabrera's eighth-inning line drive after losing it in the lights.

"As his knees buckled, so did mine," Mathews said. "But he lost the ball late, and in my opinion it would have been an error."

Garza's wife and three kids had gone home to northern California for the All-Star break and long post-break trip and, though Matt encouraged Serina to return for the game, she planned to come back to Tampa Bay on Tuesday while the kids stayed to go camping with Garza's parents.

"She was upset, she said don't talk about it 'til she gets here today," Garza said. "She was crying last night, she was (upset) that she wasn't here. I was a little upset too that she wasn't here, but hopefully I can do it again."

The first time was monumental enough, the first no-hitter in the Rays' 13-season, 2,039-game history (and it marked their 500th home win).

Among the more noteworthy points, shared by the Rays, ESPN and the Elias Sports Bureau:

• Garza was the fifth pitcher in the past 50 years to face the minimum 27 batters in a non-perfect game.

• The Rays were the first team since 1991 to be involved in both sides of a no-hitter in the same season, as the Orioles, White Sox and Expos were then. The Rays also were the third team in major-league history to be involved with three in the same season.

• The Rays' three hits were the fewest by a team winning a no-hitter since the 1998 Reds also had three as Tom Browning posted all zeroes.

• It was the first no-hitter by a pitcher named Matt, the first on a July 26 and the first with umpire Ed Hickox behind the plate.

fast facts

Be a part of it

Weren't among the 17,009 at the Trop on Monday? The Rays are offering the chance for a piece of history, including an unsold ticket from Monday with purchase of a $250 admission to the Aug. 15 Joe Maddon Summer Social event that benefits the Rays Baseball Foundation. See for details.

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Garza's no-hitter impresses nearly everyone — except his son 07/27/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 8:43am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Why don't defensive players get more Heisman Trophy love?


    In a story we posted online earlier today (and coming to your doorstep in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times), I made my case for why Florida State safety Derwin James should be a preseason …

    Boston College defensive end Harold Landry didn't get any Heisman love last year, despite leading the country in sacks.
  2. On the defensive: Heisman history not in Derwin James' favor


    The lowdown on Derwin James? "No offense to (Michigan's Jabrill) Peppers (a Heisman finalist last year)," ESPN analyst Rex Ryan says, "but he only wished he was the player this kid was." (Monica Herndon, Times)
  3. Kevin Kiermaier: Return to action Thursday 'didn't set the world on fire'

    The Heater

    Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier's return from the hip injury that sidelined him since June 8 could have gone better Thursday in Port Charlotte. He broke two bats and went hitless in two at bats while playing for the Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs.

    Kevin Kiermaier takes cuts in the cage during batting practice before the game between the Rays and Texas Rangers Saturday at Tropicana Field. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Live updates, what you need to know about Bucs training camp (w/photos, video)


    Bucs training camp is here.

    This morning was the first of 13 practices that are free and open to the general public, so we have all the details to answer your questions about where and when and so on.

    Dirk Koetter is nothing if not precise, with practices starting at 8:45 a.m. and running until 10:27. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. Fennelly: It's high time for Bucs to take Tampa Bay back


    TAMPA — Welcome to the proving ground.

    Bucs training camp begins today.

    Hard Knocks and flop sweat.

    Work and more work.

    "We have a lot to prove,'' wide receiver Mike Evans (13) says. "We're good on paper, but we've got to do it." [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]