Garza’s no-hitter first for Rays, fifth in majors this season
Garza faced the minimum 27 batters, allowing only a second-inning walk to Brennan Boesch, for a team that’s often been on the wrong end of pitching gems lately. The Rays have been held hitless three times since last July, including a pair of perfect games.
“It was one of those days where everything lined up,” Garza said. “The defense made great plays. I really can’t say enough about them.”
Garza, 26, was the latest to enhance the Year of the Pitcher. The last time there were at least five no-hitters in a season was 1991, when Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan threw one of seven in the big leagues that year, according to STATS LLC.
Garza, the 2008 AL championship series MVP, rebounded from one of his worst outings of the season. He retired pinch-hitter Ramon Santiago for the final out on an easy fly ball to right fielder Ben Zobrist, who made a terrific running catch in the third to rob Danny Worth.
“That ninth inning,” Garza said, “I kept telling myself, ‘Just finish it, just finish it, just battle, battle. If it’s meant to happen, it’s going to happen.’ ”
Garza’s teammates mobbed him near the mound after a performance that left the New York Mets and San Diego Padres as the only big league teams without a no-hitter. The Rays began play in 1998—the Padres in 1969 and the Mets in ’62.
Garza (11-5) struck out six in Tampa Bay’s 2,039th game—and on a night when the Rays struggled offensively. Matt Joyce’s grand slam with two outs in the sixth was the first hit off Detroit starter Max Scherzer (7-8).
The next batter, Jason Bartlett, singled for the only other hit of the night until Crawford homered in the eighth.
The 26-year-old Garza, who tossed a one-hitter at Florida on June 26, 2008, retired Don Kelly on a routine grounder to second base in the ninth and struck out Gerald Laird before getting Santiago to end it on his 120th pitch before a crowd of 17,009.
In addition to the five no-hitters thrown this season was the perfect game Detroit right-hander Armando Galarraga was denied because of a missed call at first base by umpire Jim Joyce.
Oakland’s Dallas Braden tossed a perfect game against Tampa Bay on May 9, and Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay also was perfect at Florida on May 29.
Arizona right-hander Edwin Jackson threw 149 pitches for a no-hitter against the Rays, his former team, at Tropicana Field on June 26. Colorado ace Ubaldo Jimenez pitched a no-hitter April 17 at Atlanta.
Mark Buehrle threw a perfect game for the Chicago White Sox against Tampa Bay on July 23, 2009.
In his previous start, Garza allowed seven runs and 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings against the Orioles. The Tigers lineup he faced was missing Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen and Brandon Inge because of injuries.
Detroit manager Jim Leyland was ejected in the third for arguing with second base umpire Marty Foster after B.J. Upton’s stolen base. Upton went to third on a wild pitch, but Scherzer struck out Kelly Shoppach before retiring Zobrist on a pop foul to get out of the inning.