ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Matt Garza's week ended a lot better than it started.
Garza allowed one hit over six innings, Gabe Kapler hit a two-run single and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Cleveland Indians 4-0 on Saturday night.
Garza (10-5), who struck out two and walked one during an 88-pitch outing, was on a pitch count of around 90 after he worked out of the bullpen earlier in the week. The lone hit off Garza was a one-out, second-inning single by Jhonny Peralta, who is 9-for-19 overall against the right-hander.
"I think I had more intensity," Garza said. "I set a goal and I knew what my limitations were, so I had to stay under control and get that done."
Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit and Lance Cormier completed a three-hitter for the Rays, who have won 9 of 11.
"Our offense was completely shutdown. Their pitching deserves the credit," Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. "He's (Garza) one of those guys that any day can shutdown any offense. It's not like we're the '27 Yankees, but he's got pretty good stuff and it showed today."
Garza made his first relief appearance in three years and recorded his first career save by getting two outs to close Wednesday's 6-4 win over Boston. He was cast in that role because All-Star closer Rafael Soriano had worked the previous four days and Garza lasted just three innings in his start Monday.
"It's a very emotional week," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "It's very unusual these days. You might have seen that in 1957, possibly, or maybe 1948, but it's rare to see in 2010."
Kapler put the Rays ahead 2-0 with his hit in the fourth. Willy Aybar's fifth-inning run-scoring single made it 3-0 and Jason Bartlett had an RBI double in the eighth.
Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner departed after three innings because of left upper back stiffness. Acta said Hafner won't play Sunday, which had already been set as an off-day for the DH.
Aaron Laffey (1-3) gave up three runs and seven hits over 5 2/3 innings.
"For the most part I threw the ball well," Laffey said. "I just got into some trouble with two outs there in the fourth and fifth."
Tampa Bay All-Star third baseman Evan Longoria hit into double plays in the first and third innings. He had grounded into just four double plays in his previous 85 games this season.
Longoria dived to his left and caught Andy Marte's grounder to start a ninth-inning double play.
Plate umpire Tim Welke stayed in the game after being hit hard in the mask by Jason Donald's foul in the fifth. Later in the at-bat, Garza caught a liner hit by Donald.
"That wasn't a catch. … the ball caught him," Maddon said. "It was self defense. Fortunately it hit him in the glove and not somewhere else."
Maddon has setup his rotation for after the All-Star break. James Shields will start the opening game of a three-game series at the AL East-leading New York Yankees on Friday and will be followed by Jeff Niemann and David Price. Wade Davis and Garza will pitch in the following series with Baltimore. … The Indians designated C Mike Redmond for assignment and recalled C Chris Gimenez from Triple-A Columbus. … Rays LF Carl Crawford, who has battled left shoulder soreness recently, was the DH. Maddon said it is a preventive move. … Indians SS Asdrubal Cabrera (broken left forearm) remains on target to start a minor league rehab assignemnt on Monday. … Cleveland C Carlos Santana, hit on the left forearm by a pitch in the first, remained in the game and afterward said everything is OK.
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