Rays, Garza blank Blue Jays at home

BY foxsports • September 20, 2009

It shouldn't come as a surprise that Matt Garza stopped a slump against Toronto.

Garza struck out 10 while ending a personal nine-game winless streak and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Blue Jays 4-0 on Saturday night.

"He always pitches great against us," Toronto manager Cito Gaston said. "We haven't beat him too many times."

Garza (8-10) allowed three hits over 7 1-3 innings in winning for the first time since beating Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay 4-2 on July 24. The right-hander is 3-5 - with all three victories coming against Toronto - over his past 15 starts.

"My record doesn't matter as long as we win," Garza said. "The last couple starts I've been on a roll."

Since joining the Rays last year, Garza is 6-2 against the Blue Jays. The right-hander is 3-0 this season when facing Toronto.

"He had movement on his pitches," Tampa Bay catcher Dioner Navarro said. "When he fell behind, he made pitches."

Toronto rookie Ricky Romero (12-9) lost for the fourth time in five starts, giving up four runs and seven hits in six innings.

"Just one bad inning," Gaston said. "After that he pitched well."

The Blue Jays are 4-13 against Tampa Bay this season.

"When you have streaks like that against teams, you try not to ask too many questions," Tampa Bay left fielder Carl Crawford said. "You just try to keep the streak going."

The Rays scored four times in the first. Jason Bartlett walked and Carl Crawford, who stole second base in the eighth inning Friday night with Tampa Bay ahead 9-4, was hit on the right elbow by a Romero pitch.

"He wasn't throwing at him," Gaston said.

Crawford agreed.

"I just think it got away from him," Crawford said. "I don't think he was trying to hit me on purpose."

Evan Longoria then singled in Bartlett to give him 108 RBIs on the year. Ben Zobrist, Willy Aybar and Gabe Kapler also singled in a run before Romero struck out Navarro and Akinori Iwamura to end the inning.

Garza, who walked six, worked out of jams in the first and third to help Tampa Bay win for the fourth time in six games, including three in a row, following an 11-game skid. Russ Springer, Randy Choate and Dan Wheeler combined to finish the three-hitter.

"I'm really happy with the way the boys are playing," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "There's a lot of energy and fight."

Navarro was briefly stunned, but remained in the game after being hit in the head by Adam Lind's back swing in the third.


Rays 1B Carlos Pena (two broken fingers on left hand) has started light hand exercises and should have surgically inserted pins removed in about four weeks. "I'm happy with the way it's going," said Pena, who is expected to be ready for spring training. ... Blue Jays LHP Jesse Carlson served the final game of a three-game suspension stemming from a bench-clearing incident Tuesday against the New York Yankees. ... Five-time All-Star Pedro Guerrero threw the ceremonial first pitch and also led fans in singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch. ... There were 10 singles and no extra-base hits in the game.

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