Freddy Garcia past 'dead arm' period

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Freddy Garcia past 'dead arm' period

BOSTON -- If it wasn't for injuries to CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte, Freddy Garcia knows exactly where he would still be.

"Oh, I'd be in the bullpen," he said with an honest yet confident smile, following Saturday afternoon's 6-1 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Garcia is now 3-2 with a 5.23 ERA, but Saturday marked his first win as a starter this season, as he allowed just one run on six hits and two walks, while striking out five in 6.2 innings.

After feeling good in spring training, Garcia started the regular season with an 0-2 record and a 12.51 ERA after his first four starts -- all in the month of April. Since then, he's spent the rest of the season in the bullpen, until this past Monday, when Garcia had recovered from his "dead arm" and made his first start since April 28.

"I think if he was a little older I'd be more concerned," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi after Saturday afternoon's win. "But I saw signs in the bullpen from him, that he was throwing the ball better. And Freddy, he was like, 'I'm going to get back.' He was committed to getting back. And he did.

"It's strange when he kind of went --to me -- probably through a little dead-arm period. A lot of times, guys will go through it in spring training. He went through it, I think, in the first month."

In Monday's start against the Tampa Bay Rays, Garcia pitched to a no-decision with 5.1 innings of work while allowing two runs on five hits and two home runs. It was an improvement from April, that's for sure.

And Saturday afternoon was an improvement from Garcia's last start in Fenway, which came on April 21 of this year, as Garcia was pulled in the second inning after allowing five runs on seven hits.

"I'm not thinking about that," said Garcia after Saturday's win. "That happened in April. We're in July, so, I had a bad outing that day, and I can't think about that. I've got to go out there and pitch. That's what I do."

Garcia went out and pitched against a Red Sox lineup that wasn't necessarily stacked in the first of a day-night double-header. But he still took a no-hitter into the bottom of the fourth, until David Ortiz broke it up with a liner off the Green Monster.

Garcia left the game in the seventh inning, with the Yankees having a 6-1 lead. While his offense got off to a hot start by scoring four runs in the top of the first, Garcia credits his performance to his velocity.

He wasn't throwing smoke, but nearly touching 90 was better than what he was throwing in April.

"I felt great today," said Garcia. "My fastball, I located the fastball, I had good velocity today, and a good slider. We got the lead early, and that's all I needed.

"Velocity made my other pitches better," he added. "My slider, my changeup, everything was better, as long as I have more velocity."

Now that everything seems to be going well for Garcia, he opened up about that "dead arm" period following Saturday afternoon's win.

"I was feeling good in spring training," he said. "When the season started, something happened. It's crazy, but, now I'm back, and I feel great."

And the move to the bullpen, well, that ended up working out alright.

"It worked for me," said Garcia. "I was there, with my stuff, ready for every game. And I wasn't pitching that much, but with long tossing and doing my stuff, that's why I feel good now."

Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

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Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

BOSTON - Brian Johnson had quite a turnaround in his second time on Fenway Park's mound.

Johnson pitched a five-hitter in his first big league appearance at Fenway, and the Boston Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

The 26-year-old left-hander became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998. In Johnson's first start in Fenway - his fourth as a professional - he sustained a season-ending facial fracture when he hit by a line drive while pitching for Class A Lowell in 2012.

"The last time I walked off the mound here was 2012 and I made two pitches," Johnson said. "Today I went nine innings. Today was pretty cool."

Johnson left Triple-A for a little over a month last season to get treatment for an anxiety issue.

"Obviously with some stuff that I've been gone through in my career, it's an awesome feeling" he said.

But despite the stellar outing, Johnson was optioned back to Triple-A after the game.

"That's the reality of the game," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We had a chance to congratulate him and yet option him back to Pawtucket, with David Price coming here Monday."

Brought up from the minors for the start, Johnson (2-0) gave up five singles, struck out eight and walked none. His only previous big league starts were at Houston on July 21, 2015, and at Toronto on April 18 this year.

Johnson was helped by a semi-leaping catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at the wall in the sixth, Bradley's diving grab of Nelson Cruz's sinking liner in the ninth and Bradley's game-ending running catch of Kyle Seager's drive.

Xander Bogaerts' RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth

Shut out for the second straight day, Seattle has lost seven of eight.

"Their guy threw the ball over the plate. He threw strikes," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "I won't take anything away from what he did, but we're not swinging the bat very well."

Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his Mariners' debut, his first big league start since Aug. 23 for Atlanta. He is Seattle's 12th starting pitcher, the most in the major leagues.

Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also had RBI singles in the first, when the Red Sox had two batters hit by pitches, two walks and two runners thrown out on the bases - Dustin Pedroia at third for the first out and Hanley Ramirez at the plate for the last.

Johnson beats Mariners 6-0 for Red Sox' 6th straight win

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Johnson beats Mariners 6-0 for Red Sox' 6th straight win

BOSTON - Brian Johnson pitched a five-hitter in his first big league appearance at Fenway Park, and the Boston Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

Brought up from Triple-A Pawtucket, Johnson (2-0) gave up five singles, struck out eight and walked none. The 26-year-old left-hander's only previous big league starts were at Houston on July 21, 2015, and at Toronto on April 18 this year.

Johnson became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998. In Johnson's first start in Fenway - his fourth as a professional - he sustained a season-ending facial fracture when he hit by a line drive while pitching for Class A Lowell in 2012.

Johnson was helped by a semi-leaping catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at the wall in the sixth, Bradley's diving grab of Nelson Cruz's sinking liner in the ninth and Bradley's game-ending running catch of Kyle Seager's drive.

Xander Bogaerts' RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth

Shut out for the second straight day, Seattle has lost seven of eight.

Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his Mariners' debut, his first big league start since Aug. 23 for Atlanta. He is Seattle's 12th starting pitcher, the most in the major leagues.

Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also had RBI singles in the first, when the Red Sox had two batters hit by pitches, two walks and two runners thrown out on the bases - Dustin Pedroia at third for the first out and Hanley Ramirez at the plate for the last.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: RHPs Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez, both on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, threw bullpen sessions. Hernandez said he "felt really good."... LHP James Paxton (strained forearm) is set to come off the DL and pitch at home Wednesday.

Red Sox: Pedroia was back at second base after getting Friday off to rest his sore left knee and not play on a wet field. He was hit by a pitch on the right forearm his first time up and went 1 for 3. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval, on the DL with a sprained right knee, was expected to play nine innings Saturday night in a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket. Manager John Farrell didn't rule out that he could be activated next week.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Christian Bergman (1-2, 6.30 ERA) gave up 10 runs and 14 hits over four innings in a 10-1 loss Tuesday at Washington.

Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (3-4, 4.35) has gone at least six innings in eight of nine starts.