Posey, Zito spark Giants to win
July 18, 2012
ATLANTA (AP) – Georgia native Buster Posey drove in five runs with three hits, Barry Zito combined with two relievers on a five-hitter and the San Francisco Giants beat the Atlanta Braves 9-0 on Tuesday night.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy made a pregame request for better pitching away from home with his staff’s road ERA sitting at 4.85 – third-worst in the majors. Zito (8-6), who came in with a 5.19 road ERA, answered Bochy’s call by allowing only three hits and one walk with four strikeouts in seven innings.
Posey had run-scoring singles in the first and third innings. His third hit was a three-run double off Luis Avilan after Jair Jurrjens (3-3) departed in the fourth.
The first-place Giants, who have won four straight, began the night two games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.
The Braves’ only hits off Zito were a single by Martin Prado to lead off the fourth, an infield hit by Brian McCann to open the fifth and Freddie Freeman’s double with two outs in the seventh. Zito ended the seventh on McCann’s groundout to second base.
George Kontos took over for Zito to start the eighth and gave up a one-out double to Paul Janish. Clay Hensley allowed a single to Tyler Pastornicky in the ninth for Atlanta’s fifth hit. Hensley hit Freeman with a pitch before ending the game on McCann’s flyball to centerfield.
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Jurrjens gave up eight runs on eight hits and three walks in 3 1-3 innings as the Braves’ seven-game winning streak ended with a thud. Jurrjens had been 3-0 in four starts since his recall from Triple-A Gwinnett on June 22.
The Giants sent 10 batters to the plate in the fourth. Zito slapped a run-scoring single under third baseman Chipper Jones’ glove. Ryan Theriot and Melky Cabrera also drove in runs with singles in the big inning.
San Francisco catcher Hector Sanchez left the game in the fourth with a sprained left knee. Sanchez singled and then took off for second base as Zito attempted a bunt. Zito missed the ball and Sanchez appeared to hurt himself when he stopped running. He was limping as he left the field.
Sanchez started with Posey playing first base. Brandon Belt ran for Sanchez and remained in the game at first as Posey moved behind the plate. The Giants say Sanchez is day to day.
Avilan gave up five hits and one run in 3 2-3 innings.
NOTES: SS Paul Janish, acquired from the Reds on Saturday, made his second straight start. Janish is the fill-in for SS Andrelton Simmons, who is expected to miss at least one month with a broken right little finger. … LHP Jonny Venters, on the 15-day DL with a left elbow impingement, said he felt no physical problem after throwing in the bullpen. He is eligible to come off the DL on Friday but first could have one or two rehab games at Triple-A Gwinnett, according to manager Fredi Gonzalez. … Cabrera rejoined the Giants following the birth of his daughter, Melianny, on Saturday. … Gonzalez said Ben Sheets and Randall Delgado will pitch in Sunday’s doubleheader at Washington, which was scheduled following a June 1 rainout. Delgado will be recalled from Gwinnett for the start. … Braves LHP Mike Minor will face Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong on Wednesday night.