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Today's Matchup: Matt Garza Vs. Justin Verlander

Tampa Bay Rays (69-44) at Detroit Tigers (54-59), 1:05 p.m.
Sports Network | August 11, 2010

(Sports Network) – Matt Garza faces the Detroit Tigers for the first time since no-hitting them three weeks ago as the Tampa Bay Rays go for a three- game series sweep this afternoon at Comerica Park.

Garza, though, hasn’t won since that gem and was charged with the loss Friday in Toronto, despite a solid effort that saw him allow just two unearned runs and four hits in eight innings. He is 11-6 with a 3.88 earned run average on the year.

Of course, the last time Garza faced the Tigers he was spectacular, with the right-hander facing the minimum 27 batters and allowing just a second-inning walk in the Rays’ 5-0 win. He had been 0-4 in his six previous starts against Detroit.

“Garza just threw, for the most part, high fastball after high fastball all night long,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said after that game. “He mixed in a few outstanding curveballs, but really didn’t use much else. Just threw fastball after fastball up top, and we just didn’t get to it.”

Tampa will settle for the type of effort that rookie Jeremy Hellickson gave the club on Tuesday. In just his second big league start, Hellickson tossed seven scoreless innings to lead the Rays to an 8-0 win.

Hellickson (2-0) gave up just three hits and struck out seven to become the second Ray to win his first two major league starts. Joe Kennedy won his first two starts in 2001.

The right-hander topped his August 2 performance against Minnesota, when he allowed two runs on three hits while fanning six in seven innings of a 4-2 victory. Hellickson was sent back to Triple-A Durham right after the start, but was recalled with Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann being placed on the disabled list with shoulder problems on Monday.

“I felt the same. I wasn’t nervous at all this game,” Hellickson said. “Last game, I had a little bit of nerve going.”

Dan Johnson walked four times, scored twice, and knocked in a run for the Rays, who have won all six of their matchups with the Tigers this season.. Willy Aybar, Ben Zobrist, John Jaso, Evan Longoria, and B.J. Upton each had an RBI.

Tigers starter Max Scherzer (7-9) was solid in seven innings, allowing two runs — one earned — on four hits to take the hard-luck loss. Detroit has dropped six of its last seven games.

Hoping to get the Tigers straightened out this afternoon will be ace right- hander Justin Verlander, who is 12-7 with a 3.81 ERA. Verlander dropped his second straight decision on Friday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who reached him for four runs and seven hits in seven innings.

Verlander lost to the Rays a day after Garza’s no-no, but is 4-1 lifetime against them with a 3.52 ERA in seven starts.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.