The San Francisco Giants hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night in the second game of their opening homestand. Barry Zito got the start, his first since his dazzling complete-game shutout at Coors Field, and ended up with his second straight quality start to begin his 2012 season. The Giants needed some theatrics and lucky breaks, but they ended up winning their third straight game and improving to 4-4 on the season with a walkoff 4-3 win.
The Pirates jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first inning, with a string of two-out hits and a walk that culminated in a two-RBI single by Neil Walker. The Giants were able to tie the game for Zito in the bottom of the second inning on a Nate Schierholtz RBI triple. Emmanuel Burriss brought Schierholtz home with a single.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Pirates would plate a go-ahead run on an error by Pablo Sandoval, one of the Giants' three errors in the game (two by Sandoval). Sandoval was able to achieve a measure of redemption in the bottom of the inning by driving in Angel Pagan with a single. Pagan's triple to set up his scoring the tying run was one of his two hits in the game.
Zito went seven innings in the game, giving up the three runs (only two earned) on six hits and one walk. Santiago Casilla and Javier Lopez combined for two scoreless innings to send the game to the bottom of the ninth.
Burriss singled to lead off the home half of the ninth, with Brandon Belt waiting on deck. When Burriss reached, Belt was called back as Bruce Bochy opted to go with Ryan Theriot, who tried to bunt Burriss to second base but after fouling off his first two bunt attempts, had to swing away. The gambit worked, as Theriot singled Burriss to third. The Pirates then elected to intentionally walk Angel Pagan in order to load the bases with no outs and set up the force, bringing up Melky Cabrera. Cabrera had been 0-for-3 on the night but had made good contact and had drawn a walk. Cabrera got ahead in the count 2-0, but fouled off three straight pitches and took a low pitch to run the count full. With the AT&T Park crowd chanting "MELKY," Cabrera grounded sharply to short. Shortstop Clint Barmes fielded the ball and went home, but his throw was low and bounced past the glove of catcher Rod Barajas as Burriss scored the winning run.
The Giants will go for the sweep on Sunday.