Freddy Garcia last tossed at least eight shutout innings on Sept. 19, 2006 for the Chicago White Sox at Detroit. Tonight he matched that, blanking the Nationals on three hits over eight in the Orioles’ 2-0 win.
So what was working for him tonight?
“Everything, man,” Garcia said after his 113-pitch outing. “Good to go out there and perform the way I did and throw a lot of strikes. Don’t walk anybody, the guys were making good plays and we scored when we needed it.
“They’ve been hitting the ball good the last few days and I was able to make some good pitches. You have to keep the ball down.”
Last night these teams hit eight homers, but tonight it was quite a different story.
“What happened last night has already happened,” Garcia said. “You’ve got to think positive and go out there and make pitches. Every pitch counts and try to keep the ball down and hit spots.
“Yeah, pretty much (this was my best outing). I don’t take this for granted, taking the mound every fifth day. Glad they gave me the opportunity to pitch and I want to take advantage of every opportunity.”
Garcia has now allowed two runs or less over his last three starts and is 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA in those games against the Yankees, Blue Jays and Nats.
Did he try to talk Buck Showalter into letting him pitch the ninth inning?
“No, he told me I’m done, I’m done. He’s the boss and I respect that position. It’s all about winning and the team.”
Garcia allowed just three singles, retired 21 of the last 22 batters he faced and even got to hear the crowd chanting his name late in the game.
“That was awesome. I’ve played in front of some good crowds and if you pitch good you hear it and you have to like that,” Garcia said.
Matt Wieters had the best seat in the house to watch Garcia’s outing tonight, from his position behind home plate.
“He had all his offspeed stuff that he could throw for strikes and especially his split that he could go to anytime he needed it. He was able to throw enough fastballs to where they had to honor it and the splitty was diving and darting sort of both ways. It is always great when as a catcher you can throw down any finger and feel it will get thrown for a strike. All the guys like playing behind him and he really had it going,” Wieters said.
“These are the kind of games that we need to win and we need to get better at winning. The other pitcher was holding us down, to get a start like that from Freddy and Jim closing it down, these are the kind of games that will help you win a lot of games.”
Nate McLouth was asked about all the homers last night followed by tonight’s pitcher’s duel.
“You guys weren’t expecting a pitcher’s duel tonight? I was thinking the same thing as that game was unfolding but both pitchers threw really well tonight. That shows you when you throw strikes what can happen.
“Honestly, we’ll take them (wins) against whoever at this point. We played a good series and scratched across a few runs when we needed to,” he said.
Nick Markakis also had praise for Garcia.
“He was a bulldog out there, giving us eight innings and handing it to Jim Johnson. He was getting ahead of the batters and making them chase his pitches. Being his teammate now, I think that is the best I’ve seen him throw.”
Markakis went 2-for-4 with an RBI double. Over his last 20 games, he is batting .376 with eight doubles, three homers, 14 runs and 17 RBIs.
The Orioles sweep this two-game series and take the season series, three wins to one.
They are now 131-161 all time in Interleague play, including a 5-4 record this year.
Garcia is now 24-11 with a 2.84 ERA and 33 quality starts in 42 career Interleague starts.