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Garza throws four solid innings

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs starter Matt Garza completed his most successful outing of the spring on Monday, throwing four innings of three-hit, one-run baseball in a 5-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners.

It was the longest start of the spring by Garza, who was acquired in an eight-player trade with the Tampa Bay Rays over the winter.

The 27-year-old pitcher gave up six runs in his previous outing against Kansas City on March 5. In that game, Garza walked three of the first five men he faced, before changing his repertoire in the process of getting his work done.

Garza had a whole different outlook in Monday’s start.

“I felt good,” Garza said. “There are still some things I have to iron out. Overall, I felt good. I really wanted to extend and I was able to use all my pitches. I threw stuff in counts I normally wouldn’t throw. Today was a day to get everything used.”

Garza, who has a reputation as an individualist, has worked hard over the last few years to concentrate on being a good teammate. In Monday’s game, the Cubs made a few mental errors that might bother some pitchers.

“Who am I to point my finger at anyone,” Garza said. “What am I going to say if I throw a hanging breaking ball or miss a spot. So when [a misplay] happens, it’s nothing to get upset about.”

Garza pointed to his own mistake when he balked a runner to second base in the second inning.

“We are all capable of human error,” Garza said. “But going into the full windup with a man on is my fault. It’s stupid. It’s definitely uncalled for. I’ve been pitching out of the stretch for the last 10-15 years so that’s a huge brain [cramp].”

Garza should have three more spring starts before he pitches the last game of the Cubs regular-season opening series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 3.

Garza showed no residual ill-effects from a one-hopper that he took off of his back off the bat of Kansas City’s Billy Butler last week.