Bouncing back from a rough outing isn’t always a given in the pitcher’s ensuing start, but Barry Zito didn’t have any problems bouncing back on Sunday against the San Diego Padres.
Buster Posey’s first home run of the season and a three-run third inning was more than enough to hand the Giants a 5-0 win, their second consecutive team shutout. To put that into perspective, the Giants scored more runs in the third inning on Sunday than the Padres did all weekend.
Zito, who allowed nine earned runs to the Milwaukee Brewers in his last start, pitched seven scoreless innings on Sunday to complete the sweep. He allowed five hits, struck out four and issued only one walk.
The Padres, particularly Jesus Guzman, did make some loud contact throughout the afternoon. And with plenty of carry due to the warmer conditions, fly balls did favor the hitter, except in Guzman’s case. He “just missed” a home run in two at-bats. Everyone else, well, didn’t look as locked in against Zito.
One of the few Padres rallies ended when the pitcher, Eric Stults, flying out sharply to right field. Zito allowed a two-out single and a two-out walk in the previous sequences. It’s not as if the Padres had a surplus of opportunities to get to Zito, as he allowed just two runners to get into scoring position.
Stults also pitched seven innings, but he wasn’t nearly as effective as Zito.
Posey took a loopy curveball deep into the left field bleachers to make the score 5-0. Posey’s two-run shot off Stults capped the Giants’ scoring.
In the third inning, Angel Pagan lined a 3-0 fastball from Stults into the right center field gap to score two runs. Andres Torres led off the inning with a single, and Brandon Crawford grounded a single through the left side of the infield for a hit. Zito advanced both Torres and Crawford with a bunt to set the table for Pagan’s two-run double.
Pagan wouldn’t be stranded on third, as Pablo Sandoval hit a pitch that nearly touched the dirt up the middle for his 17th RBI of the year.