MIAMI (Reuters) - Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Garza tossed his team’s first no-hitter and the fifth of the Major League Baseball season in a 5-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
The 26-year-old right-hander faced the minimum 27 batters, had six strikeouts, walked just one and needed only 120 pitches as he improved his record to 11-5.
“It was a game where everything went right,” said Garza, who was mobbed by team mates on the mound after the final out of the game. “The defense made great plays. I really can’t say enough about them.”
Garza got Don Kelly to ground out for the first out of the ninth inning. He then went on to strike out Gerald Laird before getting Ramon Santiago to fly out to right field for the final out of the game.
The only blemish for Garza was a walk in the second inning to Brennan Boesch. But Garza got the next Detroit batter to hit into a double play and was perfect after that.
“I just went out there and attacked the zone,” Garza told MLB.com. “That’s the thing they’ve stressed to me: ‘Your stuff is good enough.’ Tonight it was good enough.”
The game marked the first time the Rays were on the right side of a no-hitter, having been the victim of two perfect games and one no-hitter over the past year.
Oakland’s Dallas Braden threw a perfect game against the Rays in May and Arizona’s Edwin Jackson tossed a no-hitter against Tampa in June.
Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay also threw a perfect game this year while Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez had a no-hitter.
The five no-hitters this season are the most since 1991 when there were seven.
“Great night, great win,” said Garza. “Whenever the ball was hit on the ground, these guys were there. And we had timely hitting.”
For nearly six innings the game had been a pitcher’s duel between Garza and Detroit right-hander Max Scherzer who had held the Rays hitless through 5 2/3 frames.
But with the bases loaded the Rays broke open the scoreless contest when former Tiger Matt Joyce took a 3-2 offering from Scherzer and drove it over the right field fence for a grand slam that gave Tampa a 4-0 lead.
Carl Crawford added a solo shot in the eighth to close out the scoring.
With the win, the Rays improved their record to 60-38 and remain three games back of the New York Yankees in the American League East division.
Writing by Gerard Wright in Los Angeles, additional reporting Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue