This Day in Red Wings History: Garza shuts out Knights

Matt Garza. (Photo courtesy of Rochester Red Wings)

By CHUCKIE MAGGIO

If you’re a 22-year-old Matt Garza, and you’ve just thrown a 126-pitch complete game, you log 20 minutes on the exercise bike before meeting the media.

It didn’t say much for the Charlotte Knights’ bats that Garza, after firing 97-mph fastballs deep into the ninth on July 25, 2006, had the capacity to break another sweat at Frontier Field that evening.

Garza scattered three singles and two walks, striking out eight in a 1-0 victory over the International League leaders.

Tommy Watkins’s seventh-inning single drove in the game’s only run. Rochester collected seven hits but Charlotte right-hander Sean Tracey picked off Chris Heintz and Andres Torres at first base.

In a game that lacked an extra-base hit, Garza bested Tracey in his third Triple-A start.

“I told Tom Kelly (Minnesota’s special assistant to the general manager) before the game, ‘If this kid is on with his stuff, you’re going to see an outstanding performance,'” Wings manager Stan Cliburn remarked to the Democrat and Chronicle. “But I didn’t expect him to be that good.”

Garza’s only trouble spot came on the game’s final play, when Charlotte designated hitter Ernie Young, with a runner on first, sent a fly ball to the warning track that was caught by center fielder Andres Torres.

“I was just thinking, ‘Don’t go! Don’t go! Stop! Thank you!” Garza recalled.

Postgame, rumors of Garza’s impending promotion to the Minnesota Twins circled the clubhouse. The Twins made the call on Aug. 8 and he made his major league debut on Aug. 11.

The Selma, Calif. native was most prolific as a Tampa Bay Ray. He was named the MVP of the 2008 ALCS after notching two wins over the Boston Red Sox and threw a no-hitter in 2010. Garza won 93 regular season games in his 12-year MLB career.

Red Wings 1, Knights 0
Charlotte AB R H BI Rochester AB R H BI
Owens cf 3 0 1 0 Torres cf 3 0 0 0
Vindia ss 4 0 1 0 Romero lf 3 0 1 0
Fields 3b 4 0 1 0 Heintz 3b 4 0 1 0
Rogowski 1b 4 0 0 0 Durazo dh 4 0 1 0
Young dh 4 0 0 0 West rf 4 0 0 0
Sweeney lf 2 0 0 0 Jones 1b 2 0 0 0
Gonzalez 2b 2 0 0 0 Williams 2b 3 1 2 0
Rivera rf 2 0 0 0 Wooten c 3 0 1 0
Matos c 2 0 0 0 Watkins ss 3 0 1 1
Torcato ph 1 0 0 0
Charlotte                                                     0 0 0    0 0 0   0 0 0  – 0
Rochester                                                         0 0 0    0 0 0   1 0 x –  1
E – Rogowski. LOB – Charlotte 5, Rochester 7. SB – Torres (13). CS – Owens. PO- Heintz (by Tracey), Torres (by Tracey).
Charlotte IP H R ER BB SO
Tracey (L, 7-5) 7 7 1 1 2 4
Rochester IP H R ER BB SO
Garza (W, 2-1) 9 3 0 0 2 8
Time – 2:20. Attendance – 5,126

Also on this day: The Red Wings played a 9.5-inning contest against Havana in Cuba in 1959 that concluded early when Rochester third base coach Frank Verdi was hit in the head by a stray bullet and the team walked off the field. Verdi was not seriously injured thanks to the liner in his helmet. After Red Wings manager Cot Deal refused to play the next day, the teams agreed to move the games to Red Wing Stadium. July 26 is National Revolutionary Day in Cuba, and the bullet struck Verdi when the midnight celebration began outside the ballpark.

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