"I felt good, like I had 20 days off," Garza said.
Garza (5-10) looked little like a pitcher who was sidelined for nearly three weeks, though, tossing six shutout innings as the Brewers extended their winning streak to four games with an 8-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Miller Park on Tuesday.
He struck out four, gave up six hits and walked a pair during his outing, but was helped in large part by his defense, which turned three double plays for him and four for the game.
"They're always huge, a pitcher's best friend right there," Garza said. "They got me out of a couple of jams. The one that was impressive was when (third baseman Aramis Ramirez) took that turn from (shortstop Jean Segura)."
That came in the sixth, when Garza issued a one-out walk to first baseman Carlos Santana. The Brewers were shifting on the play, moving Segura to the first-base side of second with the 37-year-old Ramirez covering short.
Segura snared a grounder by right fielder Brandon Moss and made a quick toss to Ramirez, who hit the bag and nailed the relay.
But Milwaukee's biggest twin-killing may have come in the first, when second baseman Scooter Gennett snared a ground ball from speedy center fielder Michael Bourn.
He got the ball to Segura in time to retire Moss at second, and Segura rifled a relay to first just in time to catch Bourn, who hadn't grounded into a double play since August 27 of last season -- a streak of 107 games and 375 at-bats.
"It was a good turn," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Scooter got rid of the ball in a hurry and Seggy had something extra on the ball for sure."
Garza had only thrown 86 pitches when Counsell opted to turn to the bullpen, but Garza admitted he was starting to run out of gas.
"It has been awhile since I've pitched with that intensity," Garza said. "It was good for the first time out and I'm glad that nothing hurt."
Even though the Brewers' offense couldn't do much against Cleveland left-hander Danny Salazar (8-5), who struck out eight over six innings of work, Garza was able to leave with a lead as the Milwaukee bats provided just enough support in the early innings to give Garza his first victory since June 6.
Gerardo Parra led the way, hitting a pair of triples -- including one to open the first -- and scoring twice to continue his recent tear.
Segura gave Milwaukee a 3-0 lead with a two-run home run in the second, part of a three-hit day, and center fielder Carlos Gomez added an RBI single while drawing three walks.
"You get on base four times, you're going to get some runs across the board," Counsell said."
Cleveland got on the board with doubles off right-hander Michael Blazek, but the Brewers responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning off five singles, a walk and a two-out error on Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor.
"He's got to move his feet," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "That's a play he knows he needs to make. It's not a good throw."
Second baseman Jason Kipnis and third baseman Giovanny Urshela had two hits each for the Indians, who combined for nine hits but stranded seven and were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
"Four double plays, that hurts a lot," Francona said. "We're going to have to be a little more selective or more aggressive on the right pitches instead of going out of the zone."
NOTES: Brewers RHP Matt Garza was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list and made his first start since July 2. ... Brewers RHP Wily Peralta was scheduled to make a third rehab start Tuesday, taking the mound for Double-A Biloxi. Peralta has been on the disabled list since May 25 with a strained left oblique. ... Indians DH Nick Swisher went a combined 2-for-4 with two walks Monday and Tuesday in rehab games for Class A Lake County. Swisher has been sidelined since mid-June due to left knee inflammation. ... The Indians are playing at Miller Park for the first time since 2007, when they were forced to move a series against the Los Angeles Angels from Cleveland due to a snowstorm. ... The Brewers and Indians celebrated the movie "Major League" Tuesday night. The 1989 film about a rags-to-riches Indians team was filmed at Milwaukee's County Stadium and featured Brewers play-by-play man Bob Uecker as Indians' announcer Harry Doyle.