Sunday, July 22, 2012

Unlucky 12th

The Giants have just lost for only the second time this season in extras as Brad Penny fell apart in the bottom of the 12th. Best news - Barry Zito delivered another decent start. Andrew Baggarly notes in his recap for CSN Bay Area that Zito started the games at the start and end of the road trip to ATL and Philly...and apperass to be pitching consistently when it counts (my comment -- for a change) --

The Giants had a 4.85 road ERA when this trip began – the third worst in the major leagues. So Zito stepped up in a huge way with a solid outing in Tuesday’s series opener at Atlanta.

Zito ended the trip with another highly effective start at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park, holding the Phillies to three runs on five hits in seven innings while setting a season high with seven strikeouts.

There were more than a few white-knuckle moments, though. The Phillies hit him mighty hard in the first inning but only got one run out of the deal.

Zito caught his first break when third baseman Pablo Sandoval snagged leadoff man Jimmy Rollins’ line drive. Shane Victorino walked and scored on Chase Utley’s triple as the UCLA alum got the better of Zito.

But Zito, the former USC lefty, got a big assist from another Bruins alum. After Zito hit Ryan Howard with a pitch, shortstop Brandon Crawford made a deft backhand pickup of Hunter Pence’s grounder and threw off his back foot to start a double play.

It was a rough beginning, but Zito settled down and flashed some of the best offspeed stuff he’s thrown all year. He escaped another jam in the third when he struck out Howard on a curveball that followed a series of cutters.

But Mayberry ripped a hanging, 3-2 slider in the fourth inning for a tying, solo shot. Mayberry jumped on the first pitch he saw in his next at-bat – another slider, this one located a bit better – that put the Phillies ahead.

Zito was undeterred by the two shots. He struck out the next two batters and issued just one walk on the day. He’s only issued two walks over his last two starts.

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