July 27, 2010- By Jonathan Lowell
After ending up on the wrong end of a great pitching performance time and time again, the Tampa Bay Rays were finally on the side of pitching history. Matt Garza threw the first no-hitter in Rays history as Tampa Bay defeated the Detroit Tigers 5-0. MLB odds had set the Rays as the favorite, and they delivered in front of their home fans.
Garza was one walk away from a perfect game, allowing Brennan Boesch to reach in the second inning. The Rays have been no-hit four times in their 13-year history. Three of those four have occurred this season. Garza sounded excited about the direction the team is taking in their quest for the American League East title.
“We needed one. I don’t care who it came from. We just needed one for our own confidence. The guys are just as excited as I am. It’s fun,” Garza said.
Garza and Detroit starter Max Scherzer battled for supremacy Monday night, both going six innings before giving up a hit. In Tampa’s bottom of the second Ben Zobrist walked, and Carl Crawford reached on catcher’s interference. Then Scherzer walked Evan Longoria to load the bases. Matt Joyce hit the game-winner with two outs with a grand-slam homerun to right.
Scherzer was then lifted for Brad Thomas, who came in to close out the inning after Scherzer was noticeably shaken. The Detroit starter had an impressive line despite giving up the homerun. He finished with 5 2/3 innings pitched, two hits, and eight strikeouts.
“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.”
If the Rays continue their impressive performance on the field, MLB betting trends will surely favor them on their way to winning the division.
In major league history only two teams have been involved in three no-hitters in one season. The St. Louis Browns and Chicago White Sox were the two in 1917, all three coming against each other.
The last time there were at least five no-hitters in a season was 1991. Nolan Ryan was the most notable name in that group, and threw one of the seven.
“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 retired pinch hitter Ramon Santiago for the final out and the Rays mobbed the field. Right fielder squeezed the final out, and the celebration was on.
The San Diego Padres and New York Mets are the only two teams that have yet to throw a no-hitter. The Mets were founded in 1962, the Padres in 1969, and the Rays in 1998.
MLB lines have set the Rays as the favorite in the second game of the series behind James Shields at -135. The Tigers’ underdog line is set at +115, and the over/under for total runs scored in the game by both teams is set at 7 1/2.