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Zito baffles Rockies as Giants cut into wild-card lead again

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Zito is pitching a lot like his old self and the San Francisco Giants are finally backing him with plenty of runs.

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And they're right back in the playoff chase.

Zito struck out a season-high nine in his biggest win yet as a Giant, Juan Uribe drove in three runs and San Francisco shaved another game off Colorado's hold on the NL wild card with a 10-2 victory against the Rockies on Tuesday night.

"We're just clicking right now," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Hopefully this is something we can continue and keep the momentum going. ... We still have some ground to make up."

San Francisco won its third straight after a four-game skid and pulled within 2½ games of the wild-card leading Rockies, who dropped their fourth straight following an eight-game winning streak.

  Playoff Race | Giants activate Unit | Miller: Colorado's Cook on target to return

Zito, the 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner, is finally performing more like the standout pitcher San Francisco awarded with a $126 million, seven-year contract before the 2007 season. The Giants swept the Rockies from Aug. 28-30 to move even in the wild card, and could really benefit by doing so again this time. All-Star Matt Cain will take the mound in the series finale Wednesday night for the Giants.

Randy Johnson is back, too, though the 303-game winner will work out of the bullpen following a two-month shoulder injury.

"It's black and white," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "There is no middle ground. We have the opportunity to win a game in this series and move ahead with a 3½-game lead, or we'll have a 1½-game lead. That is what is up for grabs. It's a big cushion versus giving it back is what is on the table tomorrow. It doesn't come easy."

In San Francisco's three consecutive victories, the Giants have outscored the Dodgers and Rockies 26-5 after being outscored 19-4 in the previous two with first-place Los Angeles. Travis Ishikawa singled in a run and added a sacrifice fly.

Troy Tulowitzki hit a solo home run in the sixth and Carlos Gonzalez singled in the Rockies' first run in the third, but Colorado did little else against Zito (10-12). Fans chanted "Barry! Barry!" for his second straight impressive home outing against Colorado.

The left-hander allowed five hits and two runs in seven efficient innings, walking only one in a 93-pitch effort.

He also aided in a big double play to end the seventh. He fielded a comebacker by leadoff man Eric Young, threw to Uribe at second and then fired to first to get Young. The ball hit Zito on the forearm and he clenched his teeth in pain and let out a big sigh as he walked off the mound as the crowd roared. X-rays afterward were negative.

"I definitely think it's one of the better ones I've had as a Giants. It's nice to go out there and have success," Zito said. "Our backs have been against the wall. This team, for not having much experience in playoff races, has been fighting and having fun."

The Giants jumped on Colorado starter Ubaldo Jimenez (13-11) right away and he was done after 2 2/3 innings, ending his stretch of 25 consecutive starts going six innings or more.

San Francisco loaded the bases in the first with no outs as Jimenez walked Eugenio Velez, gave up Freddy Sanchez's single then issued another free pass to Randy Winn. After Pablo Sandoval struck out, the Giants took the lead when Bengie Molina drove in a run on third baseman Garrett Atkins' fielding error.

Jimenez needed 38 pitches to get through the inning.

Zito plunked Gonzalez with a fastball on the right hand on his sixth pitch of the game. Gonzalez grabbed his hand and rolled to the ground. Tracy raced out and Gonzalez eventually took first base.

Jimenez hasn't allowed a home run in 51 consecutive outings dating to June 11, 2008, the longest such streak in franchise history.

Yorvit Torrealba had his 10-game hitting streak against the Giants snapped.

Notes

  • The Rockies need two more victories away from Coors Field to match their highest total for road wins in club history: 39 in 2007.
  • The Giants activated Johnson after he had been on the 60-day DL since early July with a shoulder injury. He came out fine from his simulated game Monday. He will pitch out of the bullpen.
  • San Francisco placed RHP reliever Justin Miller on the 60-day DL with inflammation in his right elbow, ending his season. Miller went 3-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 44 outings. "It's tough. It's disappointing," he said. "I'll root these guys on. For me, it was the last thing I wanted to hear."
  • San Francisco SS Edgar Renteria had an MRI on his left shoulder that showed a mild strain. He is nursing biceps tendinitis in his left arm and a sore right shoulder. Bochy expects him to start Wednesday.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Barry Zito, now 10-12, improves his post-All-Star-break numbers to 5-3 with a 2.36 ERA.  (Getty Images)
Barry Zito, now 10-12, improves his post-All-Star-break numbers to 5-3 with a 2.36 ERA. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
San Francisco

J. Uribe
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
San Francisco

B. Zito
IP 7.0
H 5
ER 2
BB 1
K 9
 
Colorado Rockies
Eric Young Jr., 2B4000012 .295
Carlos Gonzalez, LF3011002 .284
Todd Helton, 1B3000032 .321
    Omar Quintanilla, 3B1000000 .170
Troy Tulowitzki, SS3111011 .282
   a- Clint Barmes, PH-SS1000000 .241
Garrett Atkins, 3B-1B4000010 .223
Ryan Spilborghs, RF4010010 .245
Yorvit Torrealba, C3000011 .276
    Paul Phillips, C0000100 .326
Dexter Fowler, CF3120101 .268
Ubaldo Jimenez, P0000000 .245
    Matt Belisle, P0000000 .000
   b- Matt Murton, PH1000011 .245
    Josh Fogg, P0000000 .111
   c- Mike McCoy, PH1000001 .000
    Matt Herges, P0000000 .000
Totals3125229  
a-flied out for Tulowitzki in the 8th
b-struck out for Belisle in the 5th
c-flied out for Fogg in the 7th
Batting
HR - Troy Tulowitzki (26, Zito)
SH - Ubaldo Jimenez (10)
RBI - Carlos Gonzalez (25), Troy Tulowitzki (77)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Gonzalez (5)
SB - Carlos Gonzalez (15, 2nd base off Zito/Molina)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Garrett Atkins 2 (9, Misplayed grounder)
Colorado Rockies
Ubaldo Jimenez (L,13-11) 2.2676260 3.55
Matt Belisle 1.1200010 6.46
Josh Fogg 2233210 3.77
Matt Herges 2000020 3.48
HBP - Molina (by Ubaldo Jimenez)
Pitches-Strikes - Ubaldo Jimenez 92-55, Matt Belisle 19-12, Josh Fogg 40-25, Matt Herges 22-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ubaldo Jimenez 3-1, Matt Belisle 3-0, Josh Fogg 6-0, Matt Herges 2-2
Batters Faced - Ubaldo Jimenez 19, Matt Belisle 6, Josh Fogg 11, Matt Herges 6
San Francisco Giants
Eugenio Velez, LF4111121 .269
Freddy Sanchez, 2B5110013 .293
Randy Winn, RF3310200 .265
Pablo Sandoval, 3B4220123 .322
    Ryan Rohlinger, 3B0000000 .100
Bengie Molina, C4122000 .265
    Eli Whiteside, C0000000 .213
Juan Uribe, SS5223024 .289
Travis Ishikawa, 1B3012014 .264
Aaron Rowand, CF4002012 .266
    Andres Torres, CF0000000 .250
Barry Zito, P2000011 .125
    Dan Runzler, P0000000 .000
    Waldis Joaquin, P0000000 .000
Totals34101010410  
Batting
2B - Pablo Sandoval (41, Belisle), Juan Uribe (24, Jimenez)
SF - Travis Ishikawa (2)
SH - Barry Zito 2 (11)
RBI - Eugenio Velez (25), Bengie Molina 2 (73), Juan Uribe 3 (46), Travis Ishikawa 2 (38), Aaron Rowand 2 (61)
2-OUT RBI - Eugenio Velez (11)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Zito-Uribe-Ishikawa
E - Barry Zito (2, Misplayed grounder)
San Francisco Giants
Barry Zito (W,10-12) 7522191 3.94
Dan Runzler 1000000 0.00
Waldis Joaquin 1000100 4.26
HBP - C. Gonzalez (by Barry Zito)
Pitches-Strikes - Barry Zito 92-63, Dan Runzler 10-7, Waldis Joaquin 16-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Barry Zito 7-5, Dan Runzler 2-1, Waldis Joaquin 1-2
Batters Faced - Barry Zito 28, Dan Runzler 3, Waldis Joaquin 4
Game Information
Attendance - 30353
Game Time - 2:58
Temperature - 66
Umpires - Home - Chuck Meriwether, First Base - Laz Diaz, Second Base - Eric Cooper, Third Base - Mike Reilly