June 19, 2013
Giants beat Cardinals to avoid elimination
The San Francisco Giants blanked the St Louis Cardinals 5-0 yesterday to stave off elimination and extend the National League Championship Series (NLCS) to a sixth game back at their home ballpark.
A four-run burst in the fourth inning gave Giants starter Barry Zito all the offense he needed. The left-hander kept the Cardinals guessing with a pinpoint fastball, changeup and slow curve as the Giants narrowed the Cardinals' lead to 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.
Zito, who was left off the postseason roster in 2010 due to poor form when the Giants won the World Series, went seven and two-thirds innings against reigning champions St Louis, holding them to six hits while striking out six.
"I just had to keep them off-balance and put a lot of different things in their head about what's coming up next," Zito said. "I have a few different options and they were all working tonight."
Singles by Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval opened the fourth before a throwing error by St Louis starter Lance Lynn allowed the Giants to score a run and opened the door to a big inning.
Lynn fielded a bouncer from Hunter Pence and threw to second base looking for a force-out, but his low throw hit the bag and bounced into center field. Brandon Crawford followed with a two-run single and Zito brought in another run with a bunt base hit.
Pablo Sandoval added a home run in the eighth inning to cap the scoring.
San Francisco catcher Buster Posey said the 34-year-old Zito, whose fastball falls several ticks short of 90 miles an hour, had everything going for him.
"He pitched," the catcher said. "Pitching at its finest. He moved the ball in and out, up and down, changed speeds. He just did an unbelievable job."