Giants 5, Athletics 4

Barry Zito had his closer to thank for preserving a long-awaited

victory against the Oakland Athletics.

“That was all about Brian Wilson,” Zito said. “He stole the


Zito finally got the best of his former team and only club he’d

never beaten, ending a four-start winless stretch in the San

Francisco Giants’ 5-4 victory over the A’s on Saturday night.

Pablo Sandoval homered, Juan Uribe hit a pair of run-scoring

singles and Aubrey Huff added an RBI triple for the Giants. They

made it two in a row in the Bay Bridge Series after being swept

across the bay in Oakland last month.

While Zito gave up solo home runs to Adam Rosales and Matt

Carson, he outpitched Ben Sheets (2-6). Wilson earned a five-out

save, pitching out of two jams.

“That’s what I signed up for,” Wilson said. “You get a chance

to be a hero or a failure. I always like to choose the hero option

because it’s more lucrative. Fans like it.”

Zito (7-2) was the 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner with the A’s

and left for a $126 million, seven-year deal with the Giants before

the 2007 season. It took him five tries to beat Oakland after going

0-4 with an 8.85 ERA over his first four outings.

Zito lost to the A’s 6-1 on May 21 at the Coliseum – tagged for

season highs of nine hits and six runs – and had three straight

no-decisions since then.

“It’s definitely a monkey off my back,” said Zito, who

credited the A’s for tough at-bats against him each matchup. “It

was different the first year over here. Since then they’ve been

getting me on off days.”

This time, he allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings,

struck out six and walked two. He won on an unseasonably warm Bay

Area night featuring a first-pitch temperature of 73 degrees,

highest all season at AT&T Park.

The Giants nearly lost their lead in the eighth after the A’s

loaded the bases against former Oakland reliever Santiago Casilla.

Jeremy Affeldt relieved and walked pinch-hitter Gabe Gross to force

in a run that made it 5-4.

Wilson entered and got the final two outs of the eighth, then

finished for his 17th save in 19 chances after allowing two


Perhaps this win will help get Zito on a roll like the

left-hander was on when he began the season 5-0. Zito, who beat out

an infield single in the fourth for his fifth hit of the year,

improved to 11-17 in interleague play.

Wilson was happy to get Zito back in the win column – against

the A’s, no less.

“We were aware of that,” Wilson said of Zito not beating

Oakland. “I was thinking of getting a little beer shower going,

but he’s got 10 years in.”

Oakland’s Kevin Kouzmanoff singled in the first to extend his

career-high hitting streak to 13 games and added an RBI double in

the eighth.

Sheets, on a $10 million, one-year contract, lost his third

straight start and is winless over seven outings since beating

Tampa Bay on May 8. He was done after six innings for the third

straight time.

“Six innings isn’t that great,” Sheets said. “That’s where I

am right now. I’m starting to feel better toward the end of games

so I’ll just keep pushing forward. It’s a long season.”

Sandoval led off the sixth with his fifth home run of the year

and first in 58 at-bats since his last on May 28.

Andres Torres hit a go-ahead RBI single in the second, an

unearned run after Sheets’ throwing error allowed Sandoval to

advance after he drew a leadoff walk.

A’s manager Bob Geren rejoined the team after missing Friday

night’s 6-2 loss to attend the high school graduation of his son,


“To come up short was a little disheartening but it was a great

comeback,” Geren said.

Also, center fielder and leadoff man Rajai Davis returned to

Oakland’s lineup after missing four games since his left hamstring

tightened up on a triple Monday night against the Angels.

NOTES: Kouzmanoff is batting .451 with 10 RBIs during the

hitting streak. … With an off-day Monday, Geren is leaning toward

giving both Sheets and Dallas Braden – winless in six starts since

his perfect game May 9 – an extra day or two between starts. …

Giants SS Edgar Renteria, on his second DL stint of the year this

time with a strained right groin, ran the bases for the second

straight day and is getting close to returning. … More than

20,000 people watched the 1-1 England-U.S. soccer match earlier

Saturday at the ballpark.