Six months later, and the St. Louis Cardinals are still looking to score a run at AT&T Park … or against Barry Zito.
After being shut out in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, the Cardinals have now played 21 consecutive scoreless innings at AT&T Park, thanks to Barry Zito.
Now be honest: How many of you expected Zito to extend the Giants’ run of starting pitchers giving up no earned runs? Probably a similar number of those who thought the streak would last past Tim Lincecum.
But Zito was on again, pitching seven shutout innings, giving up four hits and three walks as the Giants won their home opener over the Cardinals, 1-0.
Here is the extent of the Giants’ offense on Friday.
The Fourth Inning
- Gregor Blanco walks
- Brandon Crawford singles to center
- Zito bunts, but Yadier Molina (of all people) mishandled the ball, and Zito is safe on the error.
- Angel Pagan walks, Blanco scores.
And then, if things weren’t strange enough, the Giants’ best contact hitter — Marco Scutaro — comes up in a contact situation … and strikes out swinging.
As it turned out, that one run is all that Zito and the Giants would need.
Zito continue his mastery of the Redbirds. If you added his seven shutout innings Friday to the 7.2 shutout innings he threw in Game 5 of last season’s NLCS and the two shutout innings on the back end of a quality start in St. Louis on Aug. 7, it makes 16.2 consecutive shutout innings by Zito against the Cardinals.
It also marked the 15th consecutive start — including last postsesaon — that the Giants won a game in which Zito started.
Zito’s start Friday marked the first time since the 1976 Milwaukee Brewers that a team had starting pitchers not allow an earned run in the first four games of the season. The Brewers, by the way, went 66-95 in 1976 in Hank Aaron’s final season.
Here’s another interesting stat: The last time the Giants won a game started by Zito by a 1-0 score came on July 16, 2010, when Zito pitched eight shutout innings on two hits, two walks and 10 strikeouts against the Mets.
And now the Cardinals get Ryan Vogelsong on Saturday.