Big League Stew - MLB

Ho hum. Another night, another chance to write a post about a pitcher throwing a no-hitter. 

Yeah, it now seems routine to read and write about these things, but that gives short shrift to what Matt Garza(notes) accomplished in a 5-0 win over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.

Not only did the Tampa Bay Rays pitcher throw the first no-hitter in franchise history and the fifth overall in 2010, he did it in near-perfect fashion. This wasn't Edwin Jackson's(notes) eight-walk, 149-pitch effort against the Rays, nor was it Ubaldo Jimenez's(notes) six-walk outing against Atlanta.

Take away a second-inning base on balls to Brennan Boesch(notes) and Garza might have joined Dallas Braden(notes) and Roy Halladay(notes) — and Armando Galarraga(notes), unofficially — as hurlers to throw perfect games in 2010. The walk was the only mistake Garza made all night and a subsequent double play allowed him to finish the game by facing the minimum of 27 batters. An amazing third-inning catch by Ben Zobrist(notes) proved to be the defensive gem of the night, but it was Zobrist's ninth-inning grab of a fly ball to right from Ramon Santiago(notes) that secured Garza's place in history.

From the Associated Press:

"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."'

And it did happen, allowing the Rays to take a small measure of revenge against the baseball gods for being on the wrong end of Braden's perfect game and Jackson's no-hitter.

It also allowed Tampa Bay to leave the New York Mets and San Diego Padres behind as the only teams to never boast of a no-hitter thrown by one of their own pitchers. (The Rockies earned their first no-no with Jimenez's successful bid earlier this season.)

But with the way no-hitters are being dropped this season, the Mets and Padres may finally get their chance. The five no-hitters (should be six) are the most since 1990 and '91, when a modern-day record seven no-nos were tossed in each year. 

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