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Zito tosses 4-hitter as Giants avoid 0-4 start

DENVER — Barry Zito threw a four-hitter for his first shutout in nine years and Pablo Sandoval hit a two-run homer to lead the San Francisco Giants to a 7-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Monday.

Zito (1-0), who hasn't lost to Colorado since Sept. 25, 2008 — a span of nine starts — allowed three harmless singles and a double. He didn't walk a batter and struck out four in tossing his fifth career shutout and first since April 18, 2003, against Texas.

The lefty worked quickly and efficiently after Sandoval gave him all the support he'd need with a two-run shot over the right field wall in the first inning off Jhoulys Chacin (0-1).

The Giants avoided their first 0-4 start since 1950 by combining the strong pitching, offense and defense they expect will help them contend for the NL West crown. They had started the season with three straight one-run losses at Arizona, their first 0-3 start since 1984.