|San Francisco Giants' Barry Zito works against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, June 3, 2012, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)|
Zito throws gem for win 150 as Giants nip Cubs 2-0
SAN FRANCISCO—Barry Zito pitched 8 1-3 scoreless innings for his 150th career win and Joaquin Arias snapped an 18 at-bat hitless stretch with an RBI single that led the San Francisco Giants to a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.
Angel Pagan scored the game's first run after doubling to set a Giants record by extending his home hitting streak to 27 games. San Francisco went on to its 12th win in 17 games and moved a season-high six games over .500.
Travis Wood (0-2) was the tough-luck loser for the Cubs, allowing just one run and three hits in seven innings as Chicago fell for the 15th time in 18 games. The Cubs have also lost 10 straight road games for their longest skid away from Wrigley Field since dropping 10 in a row in September 2000.
Zito (5-2) was rarely threatened by the struggling Cubs, allowing just four hits and two walks before leaving to a standing ovation after a one-walk to Darwin Barney in the ninth. Sergio Romo finished for his second save.
The Cubs got only one runner as far as second base against Zito when Ian Stewart and Reed Johnson hit one-out singles in the fifth. But Zito escaped that jam with a strikeout-double play with Stewart easily being thrown out at third by Hector Sanchez.
After struggling for most of his first five seasons of a $126 million, seven-year contract with the Giants, Zito has been extremely dependable so far this season starting with a shutout his first start at Colorado. He has won four of his past five starts and has lowered his ERA to 2.98 to help make up for the slow start by two-time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum.
Zito, often the target of boos in San Francisco, got a standing ovation when he walked off the mound after the eighth inning and then a big cheer when he batted to lead off the bottom of the inning. The fans booed manager Bruce Bochy's decision to replace Zito with Romo after 96 pitches.
The Giants managed just one baserunner in the first four innings against Wood with Ryan Theriot being hit by a pitch with one out in the fourth. Theriot was erased when Melky Cabrera hit into a double play.
San Francisco finally got a hit when Pagan drove a ball over left fielder Alfonso Soriano's head for a one-out double in the fifth. That hit broke the Giants' home hitting streak record of 26 games set by Mike Donlin in 1905-06, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Wood then struck out Sanchez before Arias followed with a single to shallow right for his first hit since last Monday.
Third-base coach Tim Flannery aggressively waved Pagan home and he slid in safely ahead of Johnson's one-hop throw that catcher Koyie Hill could not handle to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.
The Giants added a run in the eighth when Gregor Blanco scored from first on Cabrera's hit-and-run single to left. Soriano threw to second on the play and Blanco never stopped running to score.
NOTES: Sanchez stayed in the game despite fouling successive pitches off his left leg in the seventh inning. ... The Giants have a major league-low six homers in 28 home games, including none in the past 12 games. That's tied for the second longest drought since the team moved to San Francisco, behind only a 15-gamer in September 1980. The Giants are 8-4 during the homerless stretch at home. ... The Cubs fell to 2-11 this season against lefty starters. ... The Giants go for the four-game sweep Monday when Ryan Vogelsong (3-2) takes on Jeff Samardzija (5-3).