The San Francisco Giants kept their 2012 season alive with a 5-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night. Barry Zito threw 7⅔ innings of shutout ball in Game 5, allowing the Giants to extend the series and return home for Game 6 on Sunday.
The left-hander, Zito, gave up six hits and struck out six in one of his best starts as a Giant. It was Zito's first postseason victory since 2006 and his first for San Francisco.
The Giants scored four runs in the fourth inning, on a fielder's choice by Hunter Pence, a three-run single by Brandon Crawford and a bunt single by Zito. Pablo Sandoval added a solo home run in the eighth, but the Giants' pitching had all the run support it needed.
Santiago Cailla and Sergio Romo came out of the bullpen to finish off the shutout.
Grant Bisbee from the Giants blog McCovey Chronicles was encouraged not just by the win, but the way the Giants' pitching set up, coming back to San Francisco:
And, suddenly, all the Giants have to do is win two games at home. One of them will be started by Ryan Vogelsong. One of them would be started by Matt Cain.
On the Cardinals' side of things, Viva El Birdo's Dan Moore knew that St. Louis missed a chance to advance to the World Series against the Giants' weakest starter, but was still optimistic:
The Cardinals gave themselves three chances to eliminate the Giants and win their second consecutive pennant. They missed the first one, which was probably the fattest pitch-a Barry Zito cutter moving, against a Category 1 headwind, into Matt Holliday's bat. They missed it, however few times out of a thousand that's likely to happen. But they have two more.
Game 6 will be played at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif. on Sunday, Oct. 21 at 4:30 p.m. PT. Ryan Vogelsong will take the mound for the Giants in Game 6, going up against St. Louis' Chris Carpenter. The game will be broadcast on FOX.