Matt Garza wins Rangers debut, 3-1 over Yankees

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 24, 2013 at 11:11 pm •  Published: July 24, 2013
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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Matt Garza wants to make the Texas Rangers proud that they long coveted having him in their rotation.

The big right-hander made quite an impression when he finally pitched in a Texas uniform.

"Same thing I've always saw when he pitched against us," manager Ron Washington said. "The guy can execute pitches. He never gets rattled."

Garza pitched into the eighth inning of his Rangers debut, two days after getting traded from the Chicago Cubs. The only run he allowed was unearned after his throwing error in a 3-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Wednesday night.

"I'm excited. I couldn't be more happy being in a place where I'm at, a place where I'm wanted, been wanted. It's awesome," Garza said. "I felt good. I just wanted to throw strikes."

Garza (1-0) was 6-1 in his 11 starts this season for the Cubs. He was 5-0 with a 1.24 ERA his last six starts for Chicago, winning the last five.

After giving up consecutive singles to start his first game in a Rangers jersey, Garza retired 15 of the next 16 batters before his throwing error on Brett Gardner's comebacker leading off the sixth. He finished with five strikeouts and no walks, throwing 66 of 95 pitches for strikes.

"Pounded the zone with vengeance," Washington said.

"He was as advertised," said David Murphy, who homered for Texas. "We've seen him do it before. It was impressive to see him attack the zone like that."

A.J. Pierzynski drove in two runs for Texas, including a tiebreaking solo homer in the bottom of the sixth off Andy Pettitte (7-8).

The Rangers were interested in Garza when Tampa Bay traded him to Chicago after the 2010 season. They also inquired about him last summer before he missed the last two months with a stress reaction in his right elbow. He missed the first seven weeks this season because of a strained left lat muscle.

"He's got good stuff. He has a very good fastball and slider. We hit some balls hard, but right at them," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He gave up hits to the first two batters and got out of the inning, and he kind of got on a roll after that."

Gardner's comebacker leading off the sixth rolled away from Garza even though the pitcher was able to get a glove on it. He scrambled to grab the ball, but threw awkwardly off his knee well wide of first base. The speedy Gardner was credited with an infield single and got to third on the errant throw.