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Zito finding his groove

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The Giants' Barry Zito pitches against Arizona, throwing 13 1/3 scoreless innings in two starts.

The Giants’ Barry Zito pitches against Arizona, throwing 13 1/3 scoreless innings in two starts.

George Nikitin, Associated Press

The Barry Zito that San Francisco Giants fans saw in his first two starts of the season looked nothing like a former Cy Young Award winner who just signed the richest contract ever for a pitcher.

Now that he's no longer trying to live up to the expectations that came with his $126 million contract, Zito has once again found his groove.

Zito put together his second straight scoreless outing to earn his first win at home with the Giants, beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 1-0 Saturday behind Barry Bonds' 739th career home run.

"I think I was getting caught up in everything," said Zito, who was 0-2 with an 8.18 ERA after his first two starts of the season.

"It started to seem like more than baseball. There was a whole lot of stuff going on. These last couple of games it's been go out and have fun like when you're a kid. Put everything outside your head and let your stuff work for you."

Zito (2-2) followed up his six scoreless innings in Colorado on Monday with 7 1/3 more against the Diamondbacks, the first time he has had consecutive scoreless starts since winning the Cy Young with Oakland in 2002.

Bonds provided the offense with a home run to lead off the second inning against Edgar Gonzalez (1-2) that left him 17 homers away from breaking Hank Aaron's career record of 755.

The big day for San Francisco's star Barrys gave the Giants their fourth straight win. San Francisco has won seven of nine following a 1-6 start under new manager Bruce Bochy.

"Both Barrys came through for us today," Bochy said. "I think guys feel better with the way things are going. We got off to a rough start, but we know it's a long season."

Zito had struggled in his first two outings at home, losing the season opener to San Diego and getting shelled for eight runs by the Los Angeles Dodgers in his second start.

Even though he's normally a slow starter, this was a cause for concern for Giants fans. But he followed that up with the strong start at Coors Field and then his first win in front of his new fans.

"This is the Barry Zito that we've seen in the American League," catcher Bengie Molina said. "He hit his spots very well today. He hit inside to open up the changeup and curveball. He did great today."


METS 7, BRAVES 2: At New York, Oliver Perez struck out nine and walked none in an impressive bounce-back performance, and Carlos Beltran had four hits for the Mets. One outing after he walked seven Phillies in only 2 2/3 innings, the left-hander threw 20 consecutive strikes during one stretch from the first into the third.

CUBS 6, CARDINALS 0: At Chicago, Cubs right-hander Jason Marquis shut out his former team on seven hits over seven innings, and Michael Barrett hit a three-run homer. Marquis (2-1) won 42 games in three seasons with the Cardinals. But he went 0-4 with a 7.25 ERA in five September starts last year and was left off the roster for the final two rounds of the postseason.

PHILLIES 4, REDS 1: At Cincinnati, Cole Hamels had a career-high 15 strikeouts in his first complete game and the Phillies turned the first triple play in the major leagues this season. Hamels (2-0) allowed five hits and walked two. His previous career best for strikeouts was 12, which he reached twice last season.

MARLINS 9, NATIONALS 3: At Miami, Hanley Ramirez and Jason Wood homered to help Florida snap a six-game losing streak. Anibal Sanchez (2-0) pitched five innings for the Marlins, giving up three runs and five hits. He walked three and struck out four.

BREWERS 6, ASTROS 4: At Milwaukee, J.J. Hardy hit two homers and drove in three runs to help the Brewers end Houston's five-game winning streak. Chris Capuano (3-0) pitched a season-high six innings for the win, allowing four runs and four hits. He struck out six and walked six.

PADRES 7, ROCKIES 3: At Denver, Clay Hensley pitched through a blister for his first victory this season, and Marcus Giles had four hits, including two doubles. Hensley, bothered by a blister on the tip of his right middle finger his past three starts, gave up two runs on 10 hits in six innings. Hensley (1-3) entered with a 12.21 ERA, but lowered it to 9.45.


WHITE SOX 7, DETROIT 5: At Detroit, Jermaine Dye doubled in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning and Chicago beat the Tigers for its fourth straight win. The victory came less than 24 hours after the White Sox pushed across a run in the seventh against Detroit reliever Jason Grilli and held on for a 5-4 win. This time it was Fernando Rodney (1-4), who gave up two hits and two runs in the 10th. The Tigers have lost three straight.

TWINS 7, ROYALS 5: At Kansas City, Mo., Mike Redmond had three hits and three RBIs to help the Minnesota get the win. The teams were tied at 5 before Nick Punto tripled in Alexi Casilla in the seventh inning. Punto scored on Joe Mauer's sacrifice fly.

RED SOX 7, YANKEES 5: At Boston, David Ortiz homered, Alex Rodriguez didn't, and Josh Beckett settled down after a rocky start to help the Red Sox earn their second consecutive victory over the Yankees. Rodriguez was 2-for-4 for the Yankees with a double and an RBI single, extending his hitting streak to 21 games dating to last season.

ORIOLES 5, BLUE JAYS 2: At Baltimore, Adam Loewen combined with three relievers on a seven-hitter, and the Orioles picked up their seventh win in eight games. Miguel Tejada drove in two runs and Chris Gomez had two hits and scored twice for the Orioles, who clinched their third straight series win.

DEVIL RAYS 6, INDIANS 5: At St. Petersburg, Fla., Jae Seo won for the first time since July and Ben Zobrist drove in two runs for the Devil Rays. Seo (1-1) gave up five runs and eight hits over six innings to snap a personal 13-game winless streak — including four losses — dating to a victory July 19 over the New York Yankees.

RANGERS 7, ATHLETICS 0: At Arlington, Texas, Matt Kata hit a three-run homer and Kameron Loe combined with four relievers on a shutout as Texas snapped a three-game losing skid. In his first major league start since last June, Loe (1-0) allowed three singles, struck out five and walked one in 5 1-3 scoreless innings to help end the A's four-game winning streak. C.J. Wilson, Joaquin Benoit, Akinori Otsuka and Eric Gagne combined on 3 2/3 hitless innings to complete the shutout.

ANGELS 7, MARINERS 6: At Anaheim, Calif., Bartolo Colon allowed one run in seven innings in his first big-league outing in almost nine months. Colon (1-0) threw 77 pitches, gave up seven hits and walked none in his first start for the Angels since July 27, 2006. The 2005 AL Cy Young winner was sidelined for the final two months last season because of a partial tear in his rotator cuff, and chose to rehabilitate the injury rather than undergo surgery. Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-run homer for the Angels, who have won two straight over the Mariners following a six-game losing streak that matched their longest of last season.