MIAMI (AP)—Matt Garza couldn’t sleep Thursday morning. Phone calls and text messages kept coming in from his former Fresno State teammates, who had just won the College World Series.
The calls from back home kept waking him up, and he only got a couple hours sleep before his noon start.
Now he’ll be calling them.
“I was trying to top them,” Garza said. “Almost.”
Garza (6-4) struck out 10 and walked one in his first complete game in 38 major league starts. He faced the minimum 18 batters through six innings on a humid afternoon in Miami, where weekday day games are unusual.
“The heat was coming from that 94, 95 mph he was throwing with movement,” Florida’s Luis Gonzalez said. “He was pinpointing his pitches; throwing in, out, up, down, everything.”
Ramirez’s line-drive homer was the only hard-hit ball for Florida, which broke bats and popped up bloopers against the fast-working Garza. The pitch, a slider off the plate, was a ball most hitters wouldn’t swing at, Garza said.
“It was outside the zone and he went out there and got it,” Garza said. “You just have to tip your cap and say, ‘Good job.’ I don’t know how he hit it. I wouldn’t swing at it.”
Ramirez said he was expecting a slider.
“I was trying to catch him off guard with the first pitch of the inning, and just tried to get my bat on it,” Ramirez said.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said Garza was unlucky, with Ramirez swinging at a pitch out of the strike zone.
“That wasn’t a bad pitch,” Maddon said. “If you look at that sucker, that was barely off the ground. That just speaks to his hitting ability. If you want to make that pitch 10 out of 10 times, we’ll take it. That was just a good piece of hitting right there.”
Rays catcher Shawn Riggans couldn’t help but think what could have been. He tried to stay away from Garza and didn’t want to break his concentration.
“I was definitely watching that scoreboard,” said Riggans, who had three RBIs. “That’s the best pitching performance I’ve ever caught. It was fun, a lot of fun.”
Evan Longoria homered and had three hits for the Rays, who swept their Sunshine State rival for just the second time.
Mark Hendrickson (7-6) allowed five runs, five hits and five walks in 4 2-3 innings. Hendrickson, Florida’s opening-day starter, is 0-4 in six starts since beating San Francisco on May 25.
Riggans hit a sacrifice fly in the second to put Tampa Bay ahead and made it 5-0 with a two-run double in the fifth. Longoria homered in the fourth, and Akinori Iwamura hit an RBI infield single later in the inning after Hendrickson walked the bases loaded.
James Shields pitched a one-hitter for Tampa Bay against the Los Angeles Angels on May 9 … The Rays won the season series 4-2 … The Marlins have gone 5-10 in interleague play this season and will have only their third losing season against the AL. The Marlins are 110-91 in interleague play, best among NL teams.