Monday, October 20, 2008

Garza Hurls Rays into World Series

Players of the Day from Sunday, October 19, 2008 NLCS: Tampa Bay 3 Boston 1 Game Seven of the ALCS came down to pitching, as Matt Garza outdueled Boston starter Jon Lester to lead the Rays to a 3-1 win over the Red Sox and a spot in the World Series to face the Philadelphia Phillies. Garza was nearly flawless through seven innings, allowing just a first inning home run to Dustin Pedroia, a single by Jason Bay in the seventh and three walks. Pedroia was the toughest batter against Garza. In 3 plate appearances he homered, was hit by a pitch and walked. When Jason Bartlett booted Alex Cora's grounder to lead off the 8th, Garza was relieved by Dan Wheeler. In the course of the inning, manager Joe Madden emptied his bullpen, using J.P. Howell and Chad Bradford before calling on rookie David Price with the bases loaded and two outs. Price didn't disappoint, striking out J.D. Drew to end the threat, and then getting the final three outs in the 9th. The Rays got their runs on an RBI double by Evan Longoria in the 4th, an RBI single by Rocco Baldelli in the 5th and a solo homer by Willy Aybar in the 7th. Garza recorded two wins over the Red Sox and was named series MVP. Notes: The World Series starts on Wednesday, October 22, at Tampa Bay.

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