Giants 2, Cardinals 0
WP: Zito (3-0)
Save: Wilson (4)
Record: 10-7, 2nd in NL West, 1 game behind San Diego
For the first time in three years, the chant “Barry! Barry! Barry!” could be heard resonating throughout AT&T Park.
For the first time ever, the chant was for Barry Zito.
Zito continued his stellar April with the type of outing Giants fans have been dreaming about when he signed the largest contract in franchise history more than three years ago.
Zito pitched eight strong shutout innings, striking out 10 while walking three and giving up three hits in a 110-pitch outing.
And the Giants rewarded their veteran left-hander by plating two runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 on Saturday. It was the first series loss of the season for St. Louis.
Brian Wilson came in to pitch the ninth and finish off the Cardinals for his fourth save. It was the second time this season Wilson had saved a shutout that Zito had started.
So, again, the pitching was great. The offensive was good enough. But considering the Giants were facing the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright, the Giants’ woes could be as much Wainwright’s doing as the Giants’ doing.
The Giants were again stung by the double-play ball, hitting into two more, giving them a major-league leading 24 for the season. After one double play, Giants announcer Duane Kuiper said “and after a Giants double play, we go to Amy G.” referring to Giants on-field reporter Amy Gutierrez. Amy, surprised, just said “Awww, nooo.” If Amy were quicker, she would have replied “What?!? Well, if that the case, I should get a raise!”
In the bottom of the eighth, Nate Schierholtz led off the inning with the hardest hit ball of the night off Wainwright, a shot down the right-field line for a double. Andres Torres was called to pinch-hit for Zito and bunt Schierholtz to third. But after failing to hit the ball fair in his first two attempts, Torres swung away and smacked the ball up the middle to center to score Schierholtz.
The Giants added a second run with a little help from the umps. After Eugenio Velez bunted Torres to second, Edgar Renteria hit a sharp grounder to short. Torres got caught to far off the bag and appeared to hung out diving back into second. But the umpire ruled him safe even though the throw clearly beat Torres. However, replays showed that Felipe Lopez’s tag on Torres was high up his arm, allowing Torres to slip under and reach the bag safely.
Pablo Sandoval followed with a slow chopper to third, which the umpire ruled that Sandoval beat out at first. Replays show that he didn’t, even though it was very close. That allowed Aubrey Huff to score Torres with a fly to left.
Giants 4, Cardinals 1
WP: Lincecum (4-0)
Save: Wilson (3)
Record: 9-7, 2nd in NL West, 1 game behind San Diego.
More Splash Hits was getting so frustrated by the Giants inability to score runs that we decided, in a Ghandi-like move, to start a self-imposed strike of more blog posts until the Giants scored more than two runs in a game.
Well, it paid instant dividends as the Giants managed four runs in a win over the Cardinals, snapping a four-game losing streak.
And while it’s great to get a win, the Giants’ offensive woes and struggles with men in scoring posiition weren’t exactly cured on Friday night.
They hit into two more double plays and really should have hit into three. But a custom-made double-play ball off the bat of Aubrey Huff was muffed by Cardinals second baseman Skip Schumaker, allowing a run to score.
In fact, all of the Giants’ runs Friday were not the product of clutch hitting, but Cardinals fielding mishaps.
Andres Torres scored the first run when St. Louis shortstop Brendan Ryan committed an error. Then came Schumaker’s error. The Giants’ third run came when Nate Schierholtz beat out an infield single. That play was added when Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia did not cover first base quickly enough. And the final run scored on a wild pitch.
So there are still issues, but we’ll take the gifts and the win. The Giants had been in short supply of breaks in the past week.
The end result was another win by Tim Lincecum and a save for Brian Wilson. Jon Miller said at the conclusion of Friday’s game that Friday was Wilson’s first save opportunity in 10 days. But he must have misread his calendar. It was Wilson’s first save opp in 17 days. Wilson notched saves in the Giants’ first two games of the season, but had none since, until Friday. That’s because the Giants’ wins either came in extra innings or by four runs or more.
The Giants look to hand the Cardinals their first series loss of the year when Barry Zito takes to the mound against Adam Wainwright at 6 p.m. Saturday.