Barry Zito dominates as Giants beat Braves 5-0

Published 10:27 pm Monday, August 18, 2008

ATLANTA – Barry Zito has a new approach to pitching: stay in the moment, and stop forcing things.

Whatever he’s doing worked Monday. Zito won for just the third time since the All-Star break, leading the San Francisco Giants over the Atlanta Braves 5-0.

“I got caught up with trying to make things happen,” he said. “You can’t do that. Hitters make things happen.”

Zito (7-15) allowed five hits in seven innings, combining with Keiichi Yabu and Sergio Romo on a seven-hitter. The left-hander pitched out of trouble, stranding two runners each in the third, fifth and seventh innings.

“I had some pitches working today,” he said. “My off-speed stuff was pretty good. I made a couple of good pitches to lefties.”

The major league leader in losses, Zito has won just 18 of 58 starts since signing a $126 million, seven-year contract with San Francisco before the 2007 season.

He improved to 97-5 in his career when receiving four or more runs of support, including 12-1 with the Giants. San Francisco has scored no more than one run in 24 of his starts.

“There’s no question that he’s pitching with so much more confidence than he did earlier this year,” manager Bruce Bochy said.

San Francisco pitched its ninth shutout, one fewer than the Los Angeles Dodgers, who lead the NL with 10.

Aaron Rowand homered and drove in two runs for the Giants, who won their first road series against the Braves since 1993 by taking three of four games.

Two weeks ago at home, San Francisco took two of three from Atlanta.

“They pitched really well,” Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said. “We played San Francisco seven times and we got (Tim) Lincecum twice, (Matt) Cain twice and Zito. They’re good. They’re tough.”

Atlanta has lost six of seven and was outscored 47-22 during a seven-game homestand.

“It’s the point in the season where you’re going bad and you’re falling out of it,” Jones said. “You’ve really got to bear down and take some … pride. We had a couple games this homestand that were pretty embarrassing.”

The Braves were hurt by poor hitting with runners in scoring position, with Jones’ popout ending the third, Mark Kotsay hitting into an inning-ending forceout in the fifth and Yunel Escobar hitting into a forceout that ended the seventh.

Jorge Campillo (7-6) gave up five runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings.

Rowand hit a sacrifice fly in the first after Dave Roberts’ triple, and Rich Aurilia and Pablo Sandoval followed with RBI singles.

“We’re trying to be consistent,” Rowand said. “We had a tough series in Houston and to come in here and win three of four was pretty good.”

Rowand’s homer made it 4-0 in the sixth. San Francisco scored another run in the seventh when Campillo loaded the bases by bouncing ball four to Roberts and catcher Brian McCann, apparently losing track of the count, threw the ball into left field for an error as Emmanuel Burriss sprinted to third.

“Bad, bad baseball,” Jones said. “A lot of mental mistakes. Forgetting outs. Forgetting counts. It’s everybody.”

Notes: Braves LHP Tom Glavine has an appointment Wednesday to be have his left elbow examined by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham … Braves manager Bobby Cox said LHP Jo-Jo Reyes will be brought up Tuesday from Triple-A Richmond to take Glavine’s turn in the rotation at the New York Mets. … Giants RHP Kevin Correia, who faces Florida in San Francisco on Tuesday, is 0-1 with a 7.65 ERA in two starts and seven relief appearances against the Marlins.