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Rays’ Garza tosses 6 perfect innings in rout of BoSox

Tampa Bay's Michel Hernandez (right) celebrates with B.J. Upton after hitting a fourth-inning home run on Thursday.

Tampa Bay's Michel Hernandez (right) celebrates with B.J. Upton after hitting a fourth-inning home run on Thursday.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – From the very start, the Tampa Bay Rays sensed it was going to be Matt Garza’s night.

“It may sound strange, but I really do look forward to his first pitch of the game,” manager Joe Maddon said Thursday night, after the American League Championship Series MVP took a perfect game into the seventh inning of a 13-0 victory over Boston.

“It said 89 (mph) on the board, but it wasn’t,” Maddon added. “It was better than that.”

Garza, facing the Red Sox at Tropicana Field for the first time since beating them in Game 7 of last season’s ALCS, allowed his first baserunner on Jacoby Ellsbury’s infield single leading off the seventh inning.

Ellsbury fouled off an 0-2 pitch and took two balls before hitting a squibber past Garza over the mound. The speedy Boston center fielder, who stole home against the Yankees on Sunday, easily beat shortstop Jason Bartlett’s throw to first base.

“When it was first hit, it sounded like it was coming off hard,” Garza said. “Then I saw it float by. I dove and watched the ball just miss my glove by inches. I’m like: ‘Oh, Barty!’ He almost made a great play.”

The crowd of 20,341 gave the pitcher a standing ovation, and the right-hander got back on track by getting Dustin Pedroia to ground into a double play. David Ortiz walked with two outs, but was stranded when Jeff Bailey grounded out.

Garza struck out Jonathan Van Every and Jason Bay to begin the eighth. He received another round of cheers when Maddon replaced him with Grant Balfour, who finished the one-hitter.

Royals 8, Blue Jays 6: At Kansas City, Mo., John Buck tripled twice and drove in five runs, and the Royals tied a club record by turning six double plays in beating the Blue Jays.

Yankees 7, Angels 4: At New York, Melky Cabrera hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth that led the Yankees to their third straight win.

Athletics 4, Rangers 2: At Arlington, Texas, Dallas Braden pitched five scoreless innings and Ryan Sweeney made a game-saving catch in the eighth for Oakland.

NL: Marlins top Cubs in 10

CHICAGO – Jorge Cantu hit a three-run double in the 10th inning after Florida tied it on a throwing error by Carlos Marmol in the eighth, and the Marlins beat the Chicago Cubs 8-2 Thursday night.

Alfredo Amezaga doubled and scored on Ryan Theriot’s fielding error for the go-ahead run in the 10th and Cantu homered and drove in four runs for the Marlins. Florida tied it in the eighth when Marmol threw away Cameron Maybin’s sacrifice attempt.

Cardinals 9, Nationals 4: At Washington, Rick Ankiel hit a tiebreaking RBI double in a five-run ninth inning, and the Cardinals won.

Dodgers 8, Padres 5: At Los Angeles, Manny Ramirez and Orlando Hudson hit back-to-back homers, and Los Angeles scored the go-ahead run in the seventh inning on an error by catcher Nick Hundley, a former Arizona Wildcat.

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