OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Matt Garza plans to pitch as well as he can for the Chicago Cubs as long as he’s with the team. That’s how he’s dealing with all this trade talk.
Garza pitched eight sharp innings for his third consecutive win, leading the Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.
“For the past six or seven years my name always comes up,” he said. “Until my phone rings, I’m going to be a Cub. I’m just worried about the next five days.”
Garza (4-1) allowed one run and four hits, struck out five and walked three in his fourth consecutive quality start. The right-hander is 3-0 with a sparkling 0.90 ERA since yielding a season-high nine runs to the Cincinnati Reds on June 11.
“That’s as good as I’ve seen him in two years,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “That’s with seven lefties in the lineup. His command of the fastball down and away, he didn’t need to throw many breaking balls. He had extra velocity when he needed it and threw first pitch strikes.”
With the Cubs well off the pace in the NL Central, Garza could be one of the top targets for contenders looking for pitching help ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
“Sure I love pitching in October,” Garza said. “I’d love to be pitching with this team in October. We’re scratching and clawing our way back into the toughest division.”
Luis Valbuena homered for Chicago, which has won five of seven. Alfonso Soriano and Brian Bogusevic each drove in a run, and Kevin Gregg pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 15 chances.
Brandon Moss went deep for the Athletics, who had won five of six. Bartolo Colon (11-3) gave up two runs and nine hits in seven innings in his first loss since May 9.
“It was a good matchup with two pitchers you expect to go deep into games,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We had a tough time figuring out Garza.”
A’s catcher John Jaso, one of the many left-handed batters, said he had trouble with Garza’s fastball.
“He moved it around on me the whole night,” Jaso said. “When he struck me out it was on a curve that just dropped in. I hadn’t seen it all night and it was perfect timing.”
Colon (11-3) was 8-0 with a 1.66 ERA in his previous nine starts. He won the AL pitcher of the month award earlier in the day after going 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA in June.
“He made a good pitch to Soriano, who stayed on it and got the bloop single and then the home run,” Melvin said. “Other than that he pitched like we’ve seen him all year.”
Colon’s first wild pitch in over four years helped the Cubs score in the first. Starlin Castro singled with one out, advanced to second on the wild pitch and scored on Soriano’s single.
Colon’s last wild pitch was on May 26, 2009, a span of 1,499 days and 443 innings.
Valbuena’s seventh homer of the season gave the Cubs a 2-0 edge in the third. It was his first home run in just over a month.
Moss connected for his 15th homer in the fourth, but Dioner Navarro and Bogusevic hit back-to-back doubles to make it 3-1 in the eighth.
NOTES: The Cubs designated RHP Shawn Camp for assignment and optioned LHP Chris Rusin to Triple-A Iowa, making room for RHP Matt Guerrier, acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers, and RHP Pedro Strop, part of the deal that sent RHP Scott Feldman to the Baltimore Orioles. Sveum called designating Camp “not my finest day as a manager.” … Colon is the A’s first pitcher of the month since Dan Haren in May 2007. … Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville will throw out a ceremonial first pitch at Wrigley Field on Saturday. … A’s RHP Jarrod Parker (hamstring) had his start pushed back to Saturday. RHP Dan Straily (4-2, 5.00 ERA) will be recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to make Thursday’s start. … LHP Travis Wood (5-6, 2.85 ERA) starts for the Cubs. He’s 0-3 in his last five starts. … The A’s drew a sellout crowd of 35,067 on fireworks night despite an ongoing BART strike. … Soriano has 37 RBIs in his last 50 games.
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