Garza will try to record his second career victory over New York as the Tampa Bay Rays continue a three-game home series Tuesday night.
Garza (1-0, 1.29 ERA) went 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against Boston in to earn MVP honors in last October’s AL championship series. In the regular season, he is 13-6 with a 3.04 ERA in his career against the AL East - his ERAs against the other two divisions in the league are well above four.
That success continued last Thursday at Boston, when Garza yielded one run and four hits over seven sharp innings to earn a 4-3 victory in his season debut.
“He’s got dominant stuff when he settles in. You saw it last year,” reigning AL MVP Dustin Pedroia said. “He’s got some of the best stuff in the major leagues.”
The right-hander hasn’t usually shown that stuff against the Yankees. He is 1-2 with a 4.56 ERA in five appearances, including four starts, in his career versus New York - the only AL East team with a winning record against him.
If Tampa Bay (4-3) provides Garza with the kind of support it gave Scott Kazmir on Monday, his job will be easy. The Rays had three homers among 17 hits in a 15-5 win to open this series on the night they raised their league and division championship banners.
Carlos Pena hit a grand slam and drove in six runs and Pat Burrell and Jason Bartlett also homered for the Rays, who led 9-0 after two innings. Evan Longoria added two RBIs to increase his team-high total to 12.
“That was about as good as it gets,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said.
The game was so bad for New York (3-4) that manager Joe Girardi moved first baseman Nick Swisher to the mound to pitch. Swisher, who homered earlier in the contest, worked a scoreless eighth inning.
He became the first Yankee to homer and pitch in the same game since Lindy McDaniel did it in Detroit on Sept. 28, 1972.
“It’s one of those days,” New York captain Derek Jeter said. “It was their day, an opportunity to celebrate what they did last season, and they had their way.”
The Yankees expect to get first baseman Mark Teixeira back in the lineup Tuesday. Teixeira has missed three straight games with tendinitis in his left wrist.
A.J. Burnett (1-0, 3.38) will get the ball Tuesday for the Yankees.
Burnett allowed two runs over 5 1-3 innings Thursday in an 11-2 victory at Baltimore to win his Yankees debut. He threw 98 pitches before departing, but the outing was enough to impress his manager.
“He was great today. He had a great fastball, a great curveball,” Girardi said. “It was a big performance by him.”
The veteran right-hander has extensive experience against Tampa Bay from his days with Toronto, going 7-4 with a 2.98 ERA in 16 starts versus the Rays. He went 1-2 with a 3.15 ERA against them in three starts in 2008.
Pena is 2-for-19 with nine strikeouts against Burnett, while Longoria is 1-for-10 with five strikeouts.