SAN FRANCISCO - 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 show.”
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 consecutive in the Bay Bridge Series after being swept across the bay in Oakland last month.
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Zito gave up solo home runs to Adam Rosales and Matt Carson, but he outpitched Ben Sheets (2-6). Wilson earned a five-out save by 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 during 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 consecutive 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.
Wilson entered with one out and the bases loaded in the eighth. He got the final two outs of the eighth, then finished for his 17th save.