Brewers' Garza makes quick work of former team
JUN 02, 2014 11:56p ET
MILWAUKEE -- Matt Garza has pitched better than his numbers have shown, but the right-hander needed an outing in which he put everything together and avoided one inning from getting away from him.
Garza put forth his best performance since his first start of the season, pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings against his former team in Milwaukee's 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins in front of 28,708 at Miller Park on Monday night.
"This was a really nice ballgame," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of Garza. "He came out with a great fastball, he located it well, it had life on it. His sliders were outstanding. He threw good curveballs so yes, I thought this was a really good game for him."
Garza had to work his way out of trouble in a couple of innings, starting with working around a one-out double from Joe Mauer in the first. After getting a double play to end the second and striking out the side in the third, Garza allowed a leadoff double to Mauer in the fourth.
He responded by getting Trevor Plouffe to fly out and then struck out a pair sandwiched around a two-out walk to get out of the jam.
After the Brewers went up 2-0 in the fourth, Mauer came up with runners on second and third with two outs. Garza fanned the Twins first baseman on three pitches, striking him out with a slider in on his hands.
"It was more about keeping the runs off the board," Garza said. "We had some momentum and the last thing I wanted to do was go out there and break it. Mauer is a great hitter. He already hit two doubles and I just basically said 'if you're not going to hit this, no one is.' I just tried to get it really far in there. He swung and it worked out."
The majority of runs scored against Twins starter Kyle Gibson this season have come in the first three innings, but the right-hander retired the first nine batters he faced Monday. Lyle Overbay was the only member of Milwaukee's lineup to have faced Gibson before and it took a bit to adjust to the 26-year-old.
Jean Segura led off the fourth inning with a bunt single, moved up to second on a weak groundout by Ryan Braun and came in to score on an RBI single by Jonathan Lucroy, who advanced to second on a bad throw home by Twins center fielder Danny Santana. Carlos Gomez made the errant throw prove costly with an RBI single to make it 2-0.
Mark Reynolds opened the game up a bit with a two-run home run off Gibson in the fifth, his 13th of the season.
"When a guy has a sinker that moves late like that, you have to see him up in the zone," Lucroy said. "If you see a regular strike and you swing at it, late it is going to drop down and you are going to roll over it. He was tough. We had to see him up. We got it done."
Garza felt he threw the ball better in his last start against Baltimore than he had previously, but a three-run home run allowed in the seventh inning not only put the Orioles ahead but also put three earned runs on his line.
He was able to work out of trouble and made big pitches when he had to in order to keep the Twins off the board. Drafted by the Twins in the first round in 2005, Garza picked up his first win against Minnesota on Monday and lowered his ERA to 1.77 against his former team.
"I've been feeling good," Garza said. "Baby steps. I've felt great. My mechanics are where I want them to be and I'm getting back to where I've been.
"I threw a bunch of changeups and got a couple of double plays. I just kept them on their toes. We stuck with our game plan. It's kind of what we've been doing. Just going. A lot of it starts with me and finishes with me. I feel good where I'm at and I'm just going to keep going with this feeling."
Molitor drops by: Paul Molitor's return to Milwaukee won't last very long with the Minnesota Twins in town for just two days, but the Hall of Famer will be in uniform for a game at Miller Park on Monday for the first time since 2004.
After 10 years of being away from baseball in an on-field capacity, Molitor is back on the Twins coaching staff to oversee baserunning, bunting, infield instruction and aid with in-game strategy. Molitor coached with the Twins from 2000-01 and served as Seattle's hitting coach in 2004.
"It's always going to rekindle a very positive chapter of my life for me, living here full-time for 15 years," Molitor said. "A lot of really good friendships and a lot of really good memories.
"I've had a chance to work in this park when I was coaching for the Twins and Mariners early, 10 or 12 years ago. I noted on the schedule when I'd be trekking my way back through here. I always look forward to it. It is going to be a quick visit, but I'm looking forward to it."
Milwaukee's first-round pick in the 1977 draft, Molitor made his debut with the Brewers the following season and spent 15 years with the team. Molitor hit .303 with 160 home runs in his time with the Brewers, accumulating 2,281 of his 3,319 hits with Milwaukee.
The Brewers retired Molitor's number in 1999 and his No. 4 currently hangs in the rafters at Miller Park.
"It still sends goosebumps down your spine to have your organization recognize you in that fashion as one of the elite players of having the privilege to be up there," Molitor said. "You watch Brewers highlights and someone hits a majestic home run and you usually catch your name in the background.
"Last year, one of our young players, Pedro Florimon, going out on the field here for the first time, he looked up there and asked one of the coaches, 'Molitor? Paul Molitor? He played?' So it gives you an idea of the generation to generation and how things change. It's a good humbling thing. Certainly it's an honor to be up there."
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