Tagged: Zito

“Barry! Barry! Barry!”

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.


The Plunking of Prince

If nothing else, Giants pitcher Barry Zito added a little bit of drama to a spring training game by hitting Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder in the back with a pitch in an apparent retaliation for a choreographed home run celebration involving Fielder last season.

Last Sept. 6, Fielder hit a one-out, 12th-inning home run off Merkin Valdez to give the Brewers a 2-1 win over the Giants. As Fielder reached home plate, he jumped on the plate, causing his teammates to topple backwards as if they were bowling pins.

The planned celebration angered several Giants, and the payback came Thursday in Scottsdale.

With his first pitch to Fielder in the first inning Thursday, Zito hit Fielder square in the back.

“My fastball was running in, and it just got away from me,” Zito told the Associated Press.

Fielder appeared to let the plunking slide. Afterwards, he tossed the ball back in Zito’s direction and headed to first and clapped his hands.

“If that’s what they gotta do, let them hit me once, if it makes them feel better,” Fielder said.

OK, here’s Spash Hits take on this issue.

First, we’re glad the Giants took care of this in spring training, and not in the regular season.

Second, we expect that Fielder wasn’t too upset at the plunking because it was Zito throwing at him. If the Giants had announced that, say, Brian Wilson, would be starting on Thursday, Fielder may have a different opinion of the incident.

And finally, it’s six months later and Splash Hits is still upset about that game in Milwaukee. But it has nothing to do with Brewers’ celebration. Instead, we’re still upset with why Giants were pitching to Fielder with the bases empty and one out in the bottom of the 12th of a 1-1 game in the first place.