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Like playoffs in July: Matt Garza, starter, picks up Rays with save

Big League Stew

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With their dugout looking more like a medical supply shop because of all the crutches, the Boston Red Sox are already dealing with being Major League Baseball's most injured team.

On Wednesday night, the Tampa Bay Rays buried them a little deeper in the AL East standings by completing a three-game sweep at Tropicana Field.

Adding to Boston's indignity, the Rays used a starting pitcher to finish the series finale, a 6-4 victory in which Matt Garza(notes) relieved left-hander David Price(notes) and picked up the first save of his career.

Matt Garza, the same guy who started the first game of the series. And, and, AND — the same guy who started and won Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS, in which Price picked up the save.

Holy role reversals! Joe Maddon, you crazy!

Via the St. Petersburg Times:

"Is there some irony in that whole situation?'' Maddon said. "I'll go with irony. But it's the team concept also."

Actually, the Rays manager — who wears the hardest-thinking eyeglasses in the majors — thought this out thoroughly, as usual.

Price dominated Boston (such as it is right now) for 7 2/3 innings, striking out 10 and putting himself in position to become the first 12-game winner in the AL majors. But he couldn't finish. The pitchers usually at the back end of Tampa Bay's bullpen, closer Rafael Soriano(notes) and setup man Joaquin Benoit(notes), were unavailable after their recent and frequent use.

Garza, who threw 84 pitches in his truncated start Monday, said he could go after pitching coach Jim Hickey asked him before the game.

"He came in and said 'If I need you, Can you go?' and I said, 'Yeah, it's my side (session) day anyway, so let's dance,' " Garza said.

So what? So, let's dance!

Garza allowed an RBI double to Darnell McDonald(notes) and he walked Big Papi, but he got the last two outs for save No. 1. It wasn't quite the emergency save that New York Mets righty Mike Pelfrey(notes) recorded in May, but it'll do.

Earlier in the season with the bullpen in a pinch, Rays rotation man James Shields(notes) wrangled a victory at Florida with an inning of relief.

In Garza's start Monday, Red Sox killer Andy Sonnanstine(notes) — who used to be in the Rays rotation and would be a starter on a lot of teams — picked up the slack with two innings in a comeback victory.

Got to love the Rays' team spirit. Unless you're a Red Sock.

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