04/16/08 8:58 PM EST
Zito remains winless as Giants fall
Lefty struggles with command over six innings in finale
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
"I think my timing got off a little bit," Zito said. "There are a couple of mechanical keys you always focus on to get the ball down, and it went haywire for a little bit."Zito recovered by slipping a called third strike past Chris Snyder, who fouled off four 3-2 pitches. After retiring Stephen Drew on a fly to shallow right field, Zito appeared bound to escape the inning unscathed. But Webb poked an outside 2-0 fastball into right-center field to score Jackson and Reynolds. "He couldn't have thrown it out there any better-placed," Zito said. "If that happens 10 times, it's probably a fly ball at somebody eight or nine times." Zito lasted six innings against the Major League's highest-scoring offense, allowing all of Arizona's runs (including one unearned) and five hits. He did not yield a home run for the first time this season. But it marked the third time he had faced an opposing No. 1 starter, following encounters with the Dodgers' Brad Penny and the Brewers' Ben Sheets. The Giants scored once in 23 2/3 innings off those pitchers. Webb (4-0), who worked eight innings, sustained that dominance by retiring eight of nine hitters on ground balls with his devastating sinker after Eugenio Velez's fourth-inning RBI double. But the Giants actually brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh inning against Webb, who walked Randy Winn and John Bowker. But although Bowker walked on four pitches, Jose Castillo swung on the first pitch and popped up for the second out. Webb then retired Rich Aurilia on a fly to left. Manager Bruce Bochy refused to fault Castillo for his impetuous swing.
"He can tie the ballgame," Bochy said. "He's got doubles power and he can hit the ball out of the ballpark. You want him looking for a pitch he can drive to do some damage. You've got a guy hitting in your sixth hole and you certainly don't want him taking one right there. The ball just ran in on him."All things considered, finishing .500 on the homestand after a season-opening 1-5 trip was tolerable for the Giants. "I think our play has picked up," Bochy said. "We had some lapses, but we're getting more consistent with our defense and the team is developing confidence."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.