Every Giants fan will agree: Barry Zito earned every penny of his $126 million on Friday night.
The Giants needed an outing that would save their season, and that’s what they got from Zito as the Giants won 5-0 in Game 6 of the NLCS.
Zito got Carlos Beltran to fly out to right field, then walked off the Busch Stadium mound after shutting out the Cardinals for 7-2/3 innings.
After the game, Zito talked on the field to Fox’s Ken Rosenthal about his performance:
“I had all my pitches working tonight. … The most important thing is getting it back so our fans can be a factor.”
Buster Posey, not Hector Sanchez, caught Zito’s gem on Friday night and talked to Fox after the game about Zito:
“He pitched. Pitching at his finest. He moved the ball in and out, up and down, changed speeds. … I see how hard he works, no matter if he’s struggling or doing well.”
As if that wasn’t enough, Zito contributed to the Giants four-run fourth inning, catching everyone off guard by pushing a bunt down the third base line. Zito hustled down the first base line to beat out the throw, allowing Gregor Blanco to score:
“I was just taking a look to see where everyone was playing. I figured why not. Probably didn’t have a great chance of getting a hit off Lynn. I hit it and ran as hard as I could.”
After being shut down last night, the Giants’ bats woke up and provided Zito a lead that allowed him to settle in and pitch the game of his life.
Prior to Zito’s surprise bunt in the fourth, Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval started the inning with back-to-back singles. After Buster Posey struck out, Hunter Pence hit a slow tapper back to the pitcher Lance Lynn, but Lynn short-armed the throw to second and it deflected off the base into center field allowing Scutaro to score.
Brandon Belt popped out and Gregor Blanco walked to load the bases for Brandon Crawford. The shortstop lined a single to center field, driving in Sandoval and Pence.
The Giants added an insurance run in the eighth inning when Sandoval crushed an inside pitch down the right field line for a solo home run to make the score 5-0.
Everything else was up to Zito, and he didn’t flinch. He passed the torch in the eighth to Santiago Casilla who got the final out. Sergio Romo came in and closed the door in the ninth to force a Game 6 — at home in AT&T Park — on Sunday night.
As the Giants jump on their “happy flight” back home to San Francisco, Ryan Vogelsong will be on the mound in Game 6.