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.
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.