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Giants vs. Cardinals, 2012 NLCS Game 5: Giants fans react to Barry Zito's gem

Barry Zito pitched 7-2/3 scoreless innings in Game 5 resulting in instant folk hero status among Giants fans.

Dilip Vishwanat

Facing elimination and forced to turn to Barry Zito, many Giants fans were not confident heading into Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.

After throwing 7-2/3 scoreless innings and helping the Giants avoid elimination with a 5-0 win, Zito has now become somewhat of a folk hero among Giants fans. Or as Grant Brisbee of McCovey Crhonicles put it:

Barry Zito, you magnificent creature, what have you done?

As Brisbee said, the Zito who pitched Friday was the Giants thought they were getting when they originally signed him to a big free agent contract. Zito has had his moments since, with the occasional strong start, but Friday was not about luck, or getting by. Zito dominated Friday with the curveball that won him a Cy Young.

Despite failed expectations and a rocky start to his San Francisco career, Friday was something both Zito and Giants fans can feel good about.

Zito's a guy who's taken so much crap from San Francisco fans -- here included, of course -- over the last six years, and he's finally, finally, finally the toast of the town here. If you can't feel good for him right now, regardless of what you think he'll do if he gets to pitch again this postseason, you can't feel good about anything.

After seemingly hanging on by their last thread, the Giants now return home with Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain up next in the rotation.