Matt Garza is so focused on getting Tampa Bay back into the postseason that even a questionable balk call couldn’t knock the righthander out of his groove.
Garza shrugged off his lone mistake that led to Oakland’s only run against him and pitched into the eighth inning for his career-high 13th win, leading the Rays to a 3-2 victory over the host Athletics yesterday.
Garza (13-7) scattered four hits over 7 2/3 innings and came out on top in a matchup between pitchers who threw no-hitters this season. Oakland’s Dallas Braden (8-9), who threw a perfect game against the Rays May 9, allowed only four hits — but three runs.
Evan Longoria hit a tiebreaking two-run double in the sixth as the Rays secured a split of the four-game series. Tampa Bay remained one game behind the Yankees in the AL East and remained 5 1/2 games ahead of the Red Sox for the wild card.
Garza cruised through the first four innings, allowing only a pair of singles, before briefly losing control and composure in the fifth. After the A’s loaded the bases with one out, plate umpire James Hoye called a balk on Garza, forcing in Landon Powell with the tying run. A frustrated Garza talked briefly with Hoye before going back to the mound.
“I had to keep going and couldn’t let that bother me,’’ he said.
Garza retired the next two batters to get out of the jam then settled into another groove before leaving with a runner on and two outs in the eighth.
Joaquin Benoit recorded one out, and Rafael Soriano struck out Cliff Pennington with the tying run on second in the ninth for his AL-leading 37th save in 39 tries.
Yankees 10, Mariners 0 — Robinson Cano hit a grand slam and drove in a career-high six runs for New York and CC Sabathia (17-5) extended his home winning streak to 15 decisions.
Braves 16, Cubs 5 — Visiting Atlanta sent Cubs manager Lou Piniella into retirement with a lopsided loss. Omar Infante and Jason Heyward each hit a pair of homers.
Rangers 6, Orioles 4 — Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero each hit three-run homers as Texas gained a four-game split in Baltimore. Tommy Hunter (10-2) pitched eight innings for the win.
Cardinals 9, Giants 0 — Jaime Garcia (11-6) threw a three-hitter for his first career shutout and fellow rookie Allen Craig hit a two-run homer for host St. Louis.
Phillies 6, Nationals 0 — Roy Oswalt (9-13) won his third straight start for host Philadelphia and Raul Ibanez hit a two-run homer.
Twins 4, Angels 0 — Scott Baker (11-9) pitched seven shutout innings and Michael Cuddyer had a three-run double for host Minnesota.
Tigers 8, Indians 1 — Will Rhymes had a career-best four hits and Justin Verlander (14-8) tossed eight sharp innings as Detroit completed a three-game sweep at home.
Royals 3, White Sox 2 — Jason Kendall’s RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the 10th ended the teams’ third extra-inning game in less than 24 hours. Kansas City won Saturday’s doubleheader opener in 11 innings, and Chicago took the nightcap in 10. All three games took 9 hours, 32 minutes.
Reds 5, Dodgers 2 — Bronson Arroyo (14-7) was solid over seven innings in Los Angeles to pick up his 100th career win. He allowed seven hits, struck out six, and walked none.
Padres 7, Brewers 3 — Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Headley each homered in support of Jon Garland (13-8), who won his third straight start for visiting San Diego.
Rockies 1, Diamondbacks 0 — Dexter Fowler’s RBI single in the eighth for Colorado gave Jhoulys Chacin (6-9) the win in Phoenix.
Pirates 2, Mets 1 — Zach Duke (6-12) was strong over seven innings and Jose Tabata and Lastings Milledge both went deep in Pittsburgh.
Astros 2, Marlins 1 — Florida’s five-game win streak ended as Hunter Pence hit a solo homer in the eighth for visiting Houston.