Barry Zito's tumultuous career with the Giants will likely end on a high note as the southpaw earned a win in what is expected to be his final start with the club.
Zito received a boost from the Giants' bats on Wednesday as they broke out of an eight-game slump with eight hits in a 6-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park.
“It felt so good just being able to end the season on a good note,” Zito said.
The 35-year-old lefty snapped an eight-decision losing streak, grabbing his first win since May 30 by surrendering only one earned run over five innings of work.
“It was very unexpected to come in yesterday and have [the coaching staff] ask me if I could go tomorrow,” Zito said. “To be able to get this one against the Dodgers, do it at home and come out and see the fans one last time was very special.”
Manager Bruce Bochy pinch hit for Zito in the bottom of the fifth with the Giants leading by a 5-2 score.
“He hasn't started in a while, so I didn't think I could take him out there and stretch him out as much as if he was pitching every fifth day. He did his job,” Bochy said, referring to his decision to remove Zito from the ballgame.
Bochy said Zito fought to stay in the game.
“That's a tough call,” Bochy said. “He almost had me talked out of it to be honest.”
Zito said he was frustrated to leave the game, although he understood Bochy's decision.
“I just let him know, this is my day — I'm going to go out there and shut them down. I feel good,” Zito said.
Zito was also struck in the thigh by a come-backer in the top of the fifth, which contributed to Bochy's decision.
If the start does prove to be Zito's last with the Giants, he will finish his career in orange and black with a 63-80 record and a 4.62 ERA.
“I still remember where I was when I heard that the contract was finalized, I knew it was going to be a heck of a ride, on the field and off,” Zito said. “I went through some ups and downs to say the least — on the field and off the field — a lot things happened in all these years: I got married, became a Christian, lost both my parents. … On the field, I obviously had some lows there for a while and then also this year. The World Series in 2012 for me was just such an incredible experience — I'm so grateful I got to experience that and be a part of it and help bring it home for San Francisco.”
Zito said he wished he could have walked off the mound and tipped his cap to the fans.
“There's not a lot of chance for closure in sports because guys sign contracts, they come to city's and they're kind of like the city's own and there's never really goodbyes,” he said. “It's kind of a strange situation, but that's National League baseball — you've got to pinch hit.”
The bats enabled Zito to pick up the win by scoring six runs, fueled by a career-high four RBIs from second baseman Tony Abreu. The Giants entered the game having scored the same number of runs in their previous 49 innings.
Abreu allowed the Giants to jump out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning by driving a triple to Triple's Alley in right with the bases loaded. The ball brushed the webbing of Yasiel Puig's glove before falling in for a hit that cleared the bases.
The Giants added a pair of runs in the fourth when Pablo Sandoval smacked his first home run at AT&T Park since May 21 with Buster Posey aboard.
Abreu, who went 2-for-4, picked up his fourth RBI in the sixth by doubling to right, scoring Hunter Pence.
With the win, the Giants clinched a season-series victory over the Dodgers.