Since the day Matt Garza donned a Rays uniform he's had the best pure stuff on the team. If one Rays pitcher was going to throw a no hitter, it was going to be him. He's had his share of mental struggles over his career that tended to override his tremendous talents at times. Garza had come close in the past, notably against the Marlins and Red Sox a couple years ago. Tonight you can see what Garza is capable of when everything is right between his ears.
That was simply stunning, and utterly impressive. The Tigers had only two hard hit balls all night. While Garza had only six strikeouts, he did get 13 swinging strikes on his 120 pitches. As has been the trend lately with Kelly Shoppach, he called for fastball after fastball and Garza gladly obliged. Of those 120 pitches, 101 were heaters.
There's really not much else to say. Matt Garza was nearly perfect tonight. On national television. In a Rays uniform. Of course, he was helped out by the bat of Matt Joyce After being held hitless for 5.2 IP by Max Scherzer, the Rays loaded the bases with Joyce at the plate. After working the count full, Joyce blasted a grand slam into the right field seats, letting Rays fans breathe a big sigh of relief. The Rays also made some fine defensive plays to keep the no-no intact. Ben Zobrist made a running/leaping grab in right field, and Carl Crawford caught a ball in the 8th inning that he nearly lost in the lights.
After being on the wrong end of three no hitters in the past year, it feels FANTASTIC to get to see what it feels like on the other side. I was stuck with recapping the Braden and Jackson games this season. Redemption. We like to tell Garza to "Be the Crane" on this site, which means "calm down. relax. pitch like you know how." Tonight, he was the Crane.
Congratulations, Matt, from the entire DRaysBay community.
I'll leave you with Garza's final line and the play by play of the game's final three batters.
Matt Garza (W, 11-5): 9IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 6K, 0HR.
Top 9th: Detroit
|- D. Kelly grounded out to second|
|- G. Laird struck out looking|
|- R. Santiago hit for D. Worth|
|- R. Santiago flied out to right center|
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors