Tuesday night’s battle continued the rivalry between the Giants and Dodgers. Except, the Giants were trudging along, while the Dodgers needed a win to remain in playoff contention entering the final day of the regular season. Yet, the game had the intensity of a mid October playoff game.
The Giants, who still haven’t lost a Barry Zito start since August 2nd, continued that streak on Tuesday night. Zito pitched six strong innings to extract Los Angeles from playoff contention. The Giants’ bats produced just enough offense to nip the Dodgers, winning 4-3.
Zito was summoned in the sixth inning after plunking Andre Ethier to leadoff the inning. Entering the inning, his pitch count was below 95. He finished his outing with 97 pitches and lowered his ERA to 4.15 after yielding the Dodgers to just one run. Zito walked just one batter and struck out six. The lefty escaped a mess in the fifth inning unscathed. With runners on second and third, he induced a ground ball to Matt Kemp to end the threat.
The same southpaw who was left off the 2010 postseason roster made a strong case to start a playoff game in his final start of the regular season. Ironically, he finished 2010 with a 4.15 ERA and was left off, but this year he finishes with the same ERA but is guaranteed a spot on the roster.
Buster Posey helped Zito pickup his 15th win of the season with his 24th home run of the season in the second inning. Posey went 2-4 and ultimately secured his chances of winning the batting title over Andrew McCutchen.
After intentionally walking Angel Pagan to get to Marco Scutaro, Chris Capuano surrendered a two-run double to the Giants’ second baseman. That game-turning hit extended the score to 4-1 in favor of San Francisco thanks to a Joaquin Arias solo home run in the third inning.
After Zito was pulled, his replacement Guillermo Mota allowed a two-run homer to A.J. Ellis that pulled the Dodgers within one. But the score would remain 4-3 as the Giants put the final beating on their rivals, knocking them out of playoff contention.