Miami (36-31) at Tampa Bay (39-28)

Fair Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 79° F
  • Game info: 6:10 pm EDT Sat Jun 14, 2008
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The last time Matt Garza took the mound, he got into a scuffle with his catcher.

Garza will try to put that ugly incident behind him Saturday when he takes the mound for the Tampa Bay Rays in the middle game of their interleague series against the Florida Marlins.

Garza (4-3, 4.38 ERA) has lost his last two starts by allowing 10 runs and 12 hits, including four homers, in 9 1-3 innings.

The right-hander gave up two homers in Sunday’s 6-3 loss at Texas, including a two-run shot to Texas’ No. 9 hitter German Duran in the fourth inning, sparking a heated exchange on the mound between Garza and catcher Dioner Navarro. The two players were sticking their gloves into each other’s faces before pitching coach Jim Hickey came to break it up and pushed Navarro back toward the plate.

When the inning ended, Garza approached Navarro in the dugout. Television cameras caught them face-to-face in a scuffle that spilled into the tunnel leading to the clubhouse. Rays manager Joe Maddon, Hickey and others rushed to dissolve the fracas.

The incident came three days after Tampa Bay (39-28) was involved in a bench-clearing brawl at Boston as it was swept in a three-game series.

“Just keep it in house and fix it. That’s about it,” Garza said after meeting behind closed doors with Maddon for about 20 minutes. “We’re both competitors. Whatever happens stays here and we’ll definitely fix it.”

Navarro went 1-for-4 with two RBIs to help the Rays to a 7-3 win in Friday’s series opener - their fourth consecutive home victory. He’s batting .335 with three homers and 27 RBIs after hitting .227 with nine homers and 44 RBIs all of last season.

The Marlins (36-31), meanwhile, have dropped 11 of 14 road games since sweeping a three-game set at Washington from May 9-11. Their starting rotation has a 6.87 road ERA in that stretch.

Mark Hendrickson (7-4, 5.76) is Florida’s wins leader, but is also looking to rebound from his shortest outing of the season.

The 6-foot-9 left-hander gave up three homers, including Ken Griffey Jr.’s 600th, while getting pounded for six runs and five hits with three walks, one hit batter and four strikeouts in 2 1-3 innings of a 9-4 loss to Cincinnati on Monday.

In his last three starts, Hendrickson is 0-2 while allowing 20 runs over 12 innings.

“The story (Monday) - and it’s kind of been the last couple of starts for me - is just command within the strike zone,” he said. “It hasn’t been there for me the last three starts.”

Hendrickson is 2-2 with a 4.02 ERA in six career games - five starts - against the Rays.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Hendrickson Bal vs. M. Garza Mil
7-8 Record 11-9
5.45 ERA 3.70
81 K 128
48 BB 59
1.47 WHIP 1.24


Saturday, Jun 14