Zito crisp in Giants’ 2-1 win over San Diego
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Barry Zito won his third straight start since coming off the disabled list, Eli Whiteside homered and the San Francisco Giants edged the San Diego Padres 2-1 on Thursday night.
Zito allowed one run and four hits over eight innings with a season-high seven strikeouts while beating the Padres for the first time in nearly three years. The left-hander did not walk a batter and retired 14 of the final 16 hitters he faced.
Pablo Sandoval extended his career-high hitting streak to 18 games while helping San Francisco to its second straight win over its division rival after losing the first two games of the series.
Ryan Ludwick homered for San Diego, who fell to 3-4 on its 10-game road trip.
Zito (3-1) had gone 0-6 with a 5.79 ERA in his nine previous starts against the Padres before his most impressive outing of the season helped the NL West-leading Giants to their fourth win in the last nine games.
That helped San Francisco to its 50th win, the first time the Giants have reached that milestone before the All-Star break since 2003.
Zito breezed through the first three innings before Chris Denorfia singled leading off the fourth. Denorfia stole second and advanced to third on Jason Bartlett’s single.
Bartlett was thrown out trying to steal second and spiked San Francisco’s Bill Hall, knocking him out of the game with a laceration on his left leg. Emmanuel Burriss replaced Hall and promptly caught Chase Headley’s popup to left, and Zito struck out Ludwick to end the inning.
The Giants, who dropped three straight before beating San Diego a day earlier on Nate Schierholtz’s walkoff home run in the 14th inning, gave Zito just enough support.
Whiteside homered leading off the third, only the second given up this season by San Diego starter Cory Luebke. It was also the first run Luebke (2-3) allowed since moving into the rotation after beginning the year in the bullpen.
Miguel Tejada doubled off Luebke in the sixth, took third on Sandoval’s hit and scored on Pat Burrell’s soft single to right to make it 2-0.
Ludwick hit his 11th homer with one out in the seventh, but Zito retired the next two batters then survived a scare in the eighth when Rob Johnson hit a fly ball to deep center. Zito squatted on the mound as the ball was in the air then popped back up when center fielder Andres Torres made the catch.
Zito, who last pitched eight innings in a 1-0 win over the New York Mets on July 16, 2001, left to a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd at AT&T then watched Brian Wilson clinch the win with his 25th save in 29 tries.
Notes: Giants 2B Freddy Sanchez has progressed to hitting off a tee but manager Bruce Bochy says a bigger test will come when Sanchez (dislocated right shoulder) begins throwing again. … IF/OF Brandon Belt was activated from the DL and optioned to Triple-A Fresno (PCL). … Miguel Tejada returned to shortstop but Bochy says the veteran infielder will continue to see time at second base. … San Diego RHP Aaron Harang (right foot contusion) will come off the DL and start Saturday against the Dodgers. “The foot, in his words, is a non-issue,” manager Bud Black said. … Wilson handed out over 1,000 gloves to children in the Junior Giants program. The team is also selling limited edition Willie McCovey bobblehead dolls through Sunday as part of the Junior Giants Stretch Drive program.