SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants are once again, fighting it out with the Padres. It was another one run game and this time Barry Zito was the hero.
Zito (3-1) pitched a season high eight innings, did not issue a walk, allowed only four hits and a run while striking out seven as the Giants edged the Padres 2-1.
“That’s the key with him, he’s throwing strikes with all his pitches,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “A good breaking ball, good cutter to go with his fastball, great changeup and he’s throwing any pitch at any time. He can’t wait to get the ball and he’s pitching with a lot of confidence.”
The win for Zito ended a four game losing streak against San Diego. Zito won his first game over the Padres since August 23, 2008. Since returning from the disabled list he is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA. (3 er in 21 ip).
“Sometimes you just work hard and you bust your tail in the course of your career and sometimes things are better than not,” Zito said. “I don’t really know how to explain things I just felt good and focused and trying to make the best pitches I can.”
Eli Whiteside provided some support with a home run in the third inning. He had two hits to improve his average to .225. The Giants victory was their 50th of the season. It’s the first time since the 2003 squad won 50 games before the All-Star break.
“That was a big win for us to even up the series and going into this big series this weekend against a good (Mets) team,” Whiteside said.
Pablo Sandoval had one hit in four at bats to improve his hitting streak to a career high 18 games.
Padres rookie Chad Luebke (2-3) tossed six innings giving up five hits and two runs with a walk and a season high eight strikeouts.
He gave up a double to Miguel Tejada, followed by consecutive singles to Sandoval and Pat Burrell whose RBI single in the 6th inning would be the difference in the game.
“I felt fine but that last inning I needed to execute to pitches there and didn’t get it done,” Luebke said.
San Diego’s lone run was a solo homer from Ryan Ludwick in the top of the 7th.
Brian Wilson closed it out with a scoreless ninth inning to notch his 25th save.
The Giants split the four game series and are tied 3-3 in the overall season series with 12 games left against the Padres.
“We got beat in 14 innings and got beat 2-1,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “So these are the types of games we play. Obviously it would have been great to come in here and win one of the last two but the Giants have something to say about that too. They were two hard fought games that went their way.”
The two teams will meet again for another four game set from July 14-17 at Petco Park.