- Kyle Terada/US PRESSWIRE
- San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito (75) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at AT&T Park.
Barry Zito took a shutout into the ninth inning in a dominating performance as the Giants dropped the Braves 5-2 at AT&T Park for their fourth straight victory on Thursday.
Hector Sanchez hit a two-run double during a four-run fifth inning as the Giants increased their National League West lead to three games over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Zito (10-8) allowed just three hits over the first eight innings before allowing back-to-back singles to Martin Prado and Chipper Jones to start the ninth and he was removed from the game. Zito struck out five and walked three.
Zito was charged with two runs as Jeremy Affeldt entered and allowed a two-run double to Freddie Freeman. The Braves had two runners on with none out before Javier Lopez struck out Brian McCann and Sergio Romo retired Jason Heyward and Juan Francisco on infield outs for his sixth save.
San Francisco struck in the third when Angel Pagan walked against Tommy Hanson (12-6), stole second and scored on a two-out single to left by Pablo Sandoval.
The Giants piled on in the fifth with Hunter Pence’s bunt single plating the first run of the inning.
A fielding error by Freeman allowed another run to score before Sanchez doubled to right to give San Francisco a five-run lead.
Hanson allowed five runs (four earned) and seven hits in 4¹⁄³ innings as Atlanta lost for the fifth time in six games.
Ryan Vogelsong, who has been roughed up his past two starts, will start for the Giants today, while the Braves will look to Ben Sheets.
NOTES: Giants catcher Buster Posey missed his second straight game with hamstring tightness but expects to play today. ... Braves third baseman Chipper Jones was honored before Thursday’s game as the current four-game series marks his final regular-season visit to San Francisco before he retires. ... Heyward was rested until pinch hitting in the ninth and will be back in the starting lineup today.