The San Francisco Giants were able to stave off elimination from the St. Louis Cardinals in Friday’s game after winning 5-0 in the National League Championship Series, as Giants pitcher Barry Zito delivered a clutch performance.
Zito, who won his first postseason game since 2006, held the Cardinals scoreless for 7 2-3 innings. He gave the Cardinal lineup problems with well-placed fastballs and his curve-ball. He retired 11 Cardinals in a row in one stretch and finished with six strikeouts.
Zito appeared to be the same pitcher who won 23 games and the 2002 American League Cy Young award with the Oakland Athletics.
“A lot of people were saying stuff about A’s days,” Zito said. “And for me, the most important thing is doing everything for San Francisco right now.”
The southpaw left the Athletics and went across the Bay to the Giants in 2007, signing a seven-year $126 million deal.
In the Giants 2010 postseason run to win the World Series, Zito was left off the roster because he had pitched ineffectively. He made his first postseason start in Game 4 against the Cincinnati Reds prior to this series, but he only lasted for 2 2-3 innings.
Despite Zito’s short performance, Giants manager Bruce Bochy decided to give Zito a chance. That decision worked out in the Giants favor.
“I couldn’t be happier for him,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He had it all going. He put on quite a show.”
The Giants were able to score four runs in the fourth inning that took the enthusiasm out of Cardinal fans and players.
On a forceout, Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn threw to second base hoping to turn a double play, but threw to low and the ball deflected off the bag and into shallow right field, allowing a run to score.
“I turned to throw it and I just threw it in the ground,” he said. “Just a bad play. You make a good throw there and we are out of the inning. It was one of those times where I just short-armed it a little bit.”
When Brandon Crawford reached the plate, there were two outs and bases were loaded. Lynn managed to get Crawford to a full count, but Crawford connected with a single up the middle and two more runs scored.
In the same inning, Zito came up big when he stepped to the plate to bat. Before coming to the plate Zito had 30 career hits and nine RBIs, but made it 10 after laying down a
bunt towards the third base line and beating Lynn’s throw to first.
The Giants have won Zito’s past 13 starts and are averaging more than six runs a game during their hot streak.
Game 6 will take place Sunday evening at AT&T Park in San Francisco, with Ryan Vogelsong pitching against the Cardinals’ Chris Carpenter.
Barry Zito Delivers A Clutch Performance in Elimination Game Against Cardinals
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