Zito quiets Cards' bats

Sunday, April 25, 2010
Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols argues with home plate umpire Mike Reilly after striking out during the sixth inning Saturday in San Francisco. (MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ ~ Associated Press)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Zito struck out 10 over eight crisp innings, pinch-hitter Andres Torres singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth and the San Francisco Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 on Saturday night.

Zito outpitched Adam Wainwright to come out on top in an impressive pitchers' duel, earning his first career victory against the Cardinals after starting 0-4 over his initial five outings.

San Francisco took the series opener 4-1 on Friday night to end a four-game skid, then the Giants handed the Cardinals their first series defeat of the year. St. Louis won its opening five sets.

Resembling his old Cy Young Award self from eight years ago with Oakland, Zito (3-0) allowed three hits and walked three in the 114-pitch performance. Brian Wilson pitched the ninth for his fourth save in four tries and second of the series.

Zito didn't allow a hit until Felipe Lopez's leadoff single in the fourth, and he got Albert Pujols on a called third strike to end the sixth, enraging the slugger. Pujols argued with plate umpire Mike Reilly and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa also came out to chat.

Hundreds of fans chanted "Barry! Barry!" in the eighth after Zito struck out the first two batters of the inning -- a far cry from the boos the $126 million left-hander often has heard during his struggles since joining the Giants before the 2007 season.

He then struck out Lopez to end the inning, subtly pumping his left fist as he walked off the mound. Zito reached double digits in strikeouts for the 13th time in his career and second with San Francisco. He last did so July 5, 2008, against the archrival Dodgers.

Both teams missed their share of scoring opportunities. San Francisco grounded into double plays in the fourth and sixth, and St. Louis was doubled up in the second and fourth.

Wainwright (3-1), coming off a complete-game 5-3 win against the New York Mets last Sunday, hung tough and matched Zito for much of the night before Nate Schierholtz opened the eighth with a double. Torres then batted for Zito and lined a single up the middle. Schierholtz was just the second San Francisco hitter to get past first base.

Aubrey Huff added a sacrifice fly later in the inning for an insurance run.

It was the Giants' fourth shutout, second at home. St. Louis was blanked for the first time this season.

Pablo Sandoval had a pair of singles on his bobblehead night. Fans began lining up six hours before first pitch to snag a "Panda" souvenir.

Sandoval also scooped up a hard one-hopper by Pujols in the fourth, stepped on third and fired to first for a double play.

Giants shortstop Edgar Renteria returned to the lineup after he was scratched Friday night when his troublesome left shoulder began bothering him.

San Francisco's Juan Uribe was pulled from the game in the top of the third with tightness in his right elbow. Mark DeRosa moved from left field to second and John Bowker took over in left.

Noteworthy

* Wainwright twice plunked DeRosa in the left elbow.

* Lopez was back in the starting lineup after striking out as a pinch hitter Friday, when La Russa gave him another day to rest his sore right elbow.

* Jaime Garcia, the losing pitcher Friday, still was relishing his first major league hit -- an infield single off two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. Garcia doesn't yet have the ball, but said a trainer is keeping it safe. "Hey, I'll keep the ball," Garcia said. "It's a good memory. And I'll write Lincecum on it. My first hit comes against a future Hall of Famer."

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