|© MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.|
Garcia eclipses FSL record07/04/2010 10:04 PM ET
By Daren Smith / MLB.com
Now Harold Garcia can relax.
Garcia broke the Florida State League record by extending his hitting streak to 37 games Sunday in the Clearwater Threshers' 5-1 loss to the Daytona Cubs.
The switch-hitting second baseman again wasted no time keeping the streak going. After Anthony Gose opened the game with a double to left field off Trey McNutt, Garcia hit a grounder up the middle that just eluded diving second baseman Ryan Flaherty for an RBI single.
"It wasn't hit that hard, so I was running as hard as I could," Garcia said through teammate Jesus Sanchez, who served as his translator. "Once the ball made it up the middle, I was worried if it was a hit or an error."
It was ruled a hit and Garcia was presented with the ball.
"It felt great to get it off my back and let my emotions go," he said. "After every game, they keep telling me, 'You've got the streak, you've got the streak.' It was great to finally get it over with."
Garcia broke the record he shared with Joe Altobelli, who hit in 36 consecutive games for the Daytona Beach Islanders in 1951.
"It's been up there for a long time and I've had my day in the sun," Altobelli told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle earlier this week. "I've enjoyed the run."
Altobelli went on to manage the Rochester Red Wings and Columbus Clippers to three International League championships and the Baltimore Orioles to the 1983 World Series title.
Garcia collected a hit in his first at-bat for the fifth straight game. He homered in the opening inning of Saturday's 4-3 win over Lakeland to tie the record.
"Early in the game, I know I'm going to see a lot of fastballs," Garcia said. "I've been able to take advantage of that in the beginning of the game."
Garcia is 52-for-147 (.354) during the streak, which began on May 24 and has raised his average 65 points to .341. He's been held hitless only twice in 45 games since joining the Threshers on May 16.
"I'm going to be more relaxed. I'm going to play baseball the way I know how to play," he said. "I will continue to play hard and see how far I can keep it going."
Last season, Jamie McOwen of the Class A Advanced High Desert Mavericks set a California League record by hitting in 45 consecutive games. That's the longest streak in the Minor Leagues over the past two decades. Wichita's Joe Wilhoit holds the record with a 69-game streak in 1919.
A year ago, Garcia batted .291 with 55 RBIs and 42 stolen bases in 118 games at Class A Lakewood, where he had a career-best 11-game hitting streak from April 23-May 7. The 5-foot-11, 164-pound Venezuela native signed with Philadelphia as a non-drafted free agent in 2008.