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Barry Zito shuts down Cardinals in Game 5 of NLCS to keep Giants’ season alive

Oct 19, 2012, 11:14 PM EDT

Reuters Barry Zito Reuters

With the Giants facing elimination, Barry Zito didn’t inspire much confidence coming into his start in Game 5 tonight. However, he turned in the best performance by a Giants’ starting pitcher this postseason while keeping his team’s season alive.

Zito limited to Cardinals to six hits over 7 2/3 shutout innings tonight as part of a 5-0 victory. The win means there will be a Game 6 on Sunday night back in San Francisco.

Despite topping out at just 86 mph, Zito struck out six and walked one (intentional) while throwing a season-high 115 pitches. The intentional walk came at a critical point in the game in the second inning, as it loaded the bases for opposing pitcher Lance Lynn, who grounded into an inning-ending double play. The southpaw was the beneficiary of some excellent defense and home plate umpire Ted Barrett gave him the edge on a few pitches, but this was a mighty impressive performance from an unexpected source.

The Giants chased Lance Lynn in the fourth inning by scoring four runs. The rally was capped by Zito (who else?), who dropped down a bunt and beat it out for a hit to drive in a run. Pablo Sandoval added a solo home run in the eighth inning, his second home run in as many days, for some extra insurance.

Many were ready to write the Giants off after Game 4 last night, but this series is suddenly far from finished. Ryan Vogelsong is lined up to start for the Giants in Game 6 on Sunday while the Cardinals will counter with Chris Carpenter. If there’s a Game 7 on Monday, it will be Matt Cain against Kyle Lohse.

  1. jxegh - Oct 19, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    Wow! Of all the Giants pitchers, it’s Zito that keeps them alive. They can do it….

    • sailcat54 - Oct 19, 2012 at 11:30 PM

      Win three do-or-die games in a row to win a post season series? Could happen. Ask the Reds what they think…

  2. adeedothatswho - Oct 19, 2012 at 11:29 PM


  3. 49ersgiants4life - Oct 19, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    Really you had to throw in the ump gave him some pitches on the edge the ump was pretty consistent he had a low strike zone and Zito took advantage hats off to Zito hope he continues pitching well for the rest of his contract

    • D.J. Short - Oct 19, 2012 at 11:40 PM

      That’s no slight on Zito. Barrett was consistent. Zito was smart to take advantage of it.

  4. Ben - Oct 20, 2012 at 12:03 AM

    Zito’s highest game score since his first start of the season on April 9th. Pretty cool.

  5. missingdiz - Oct 20, 2012 at 12:03 AM

    I’m a Cards fan and from that standpoint this game was painful. But I’m a baseball fan more than I’m a Cards fan and so I have to say I admire and applaud Zito’s performance. It was special and it was inspiring for those of us who are not all that young. Brain over brawn, experience and nerve prevailed. But it does put the Cards in a tough spot. Sure they’re one up, but with Vogelsong and Cain in SF actually the Cards should be seen as the underdogs. They will have to be smarter than they were tonight.

  6. fat4jc - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    That strike zone was laughable… and I’m a Giants fan.

  7. mungman69 - Oct 20, 2012 at 7:57 AM

    Hey, that umpire was steady all night. He didn’t change all night so it’s up to the hitters to swing at THOSE strikes.

  8. stlouis1baseball - Oct 20, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Masterful performance by Zito. Dude was throwing darts the whole game.
    Good hitting and solid defense by the Giants.
    Piss poor display of baseball by the Cardinals.
    Giants pick up a well deserved game #5 win.
    Now is back to San Francisco for game #6!
    Good luck. I just hope the Cardinals have more of it. Go Cardinals!

  9. richwizl - Oct 20, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    I think Barry surprised a lot of people, including myself. He was pretty amazing with his control, shades of Tom Glavine. He put SF right back in the series.

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