'Mentally tough' Zito blanks Braves

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'Mentally tough' Zito blanks Braves

ATLANTA With two innings of satisfactory janitorial work,George Kontos and Clay Hensley held up quite a storyline for Barry Zito Tuesdaynight.

The Giants shut out the Atlanta Braves 9-0 at Turner Field just the clubs second shutout victory in the 16 years the locals have beenwaving Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and eating foam tomahawks here.

Zito contributed seven of those shutout innings on an easilybearable night in North Georgia. The other blanking here? It was in 2008 whenZito contributed seven shutout innings.

It was exactly what the Giants needed after getting carpetbombed on their previous road trip to Washington and Pittsburgh.

Hows this for another stat? Zito (8-6) has now pitchedat least seven innings without allowing a run in four of his 18 starts thisseason the most on the Giants staff. Matt Cain owns three such starts, RyanVogelsong and Tim Lincecum have two apiece and Madison Bumgarner has one.

And while it wasnt pretty, it should be noted that Zito startedin the only victory the Giants managed on their last woeful trip East.

Hes done a great job, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. Hesgot eight wins. Its been a real pleasure to see how hes bounced back thisyear.

Hes tough mentally tough.

Thats what the manager said: Barry Zito, mentally tough.How many times over the last six years could Bochy say that?

Zito agreed with what Bochy told reporters prior toTuesdays game about the staffs unacceptable 4.85 ERA on the road, third worstin the majors. The left-hander and former Cy Young Award winner said he tookpride in being the one to start off a tough road trip.

Its not something weve addressed, but its definitelysomething were aware of, Zito said. We havent called a team meeting, but weknew on the road we had to bear down.

Its good to just be the guy. We all want to be out therewhen the team is scuffling. We all want to be the stopper.

Zito held a hot Braves lineup to three hits and a walk inseven innings.

Just throwing strikes, putting the pressure on them, beingaggressive same old things, he said. Those things work.

Zito even lined an RBI single after a foul ball nearlykilled both Gregor Blanco in the on-deck circle and Ryan Theriot on the topstep of the dugout. Both had to use Matrix-style moves to avoid the hot shot.

And Zito managed a catching change without any turbulence.After Hector Sanchez exited with a sprained left knee in the fourth inning,Zito worked with Buster Posey for the first time all season and didnt clashswords in the slightest.

Posey credited Zito with carrying his fastball through thezone.

He used his cutter in and out, and threw the curveball bothwhen behind in the count and ahead in the count, Posey said. He bounced itwhen he needed to bounce it. And he threw his changeup for strikes. He wasimpressive.

Zito was in less than impressive shape over the All-Starbreak. He took a commercial flight home, ate the cold chicken meal that wasoffered to him and came down with some kind of violent bacterial infection thatwreaked havoc with his GI tract for three days. So you could say he didntexactly enjoy the break.

It worked out good, Zito said. I had four or five days tobe sick.

And then provide seven innings of medicine the Giantspitching staff badly needed.

Santiago Casilla says he never received offer from Giants

Santiago Casilla says he never received offer from Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Over the final month of his time with the Giants, it became clear that Santiago Casilla and the team would part ways. On Friday, Casilla confirmed that he never had the opportunity to return. 

On a conference call to announce a two-year deal with the Oakland A’s, Casilla said he “would have been happy to return to the Giants, but I never got an offer from them. I understood.”

Casilla said he had several opportunities to go elsewhere and close, mentioning the Milwaukee Brewers as one interested team. Casilla signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the A’s, who likely won’t need him to pitch in the ninth. The Brewers went on to bring in Neftali Feliz for one year and $5.35 million; he is expected to close. 

“I preferred to return to the Athletics because that’s where my career started,” Casilla said through interpreter Manolo Hernández Douen. “And I’m very excited.”

Casilla spent the first six years of his career with the A’s before crossing the bridge and becoming a key figure in three title runs. In seven seasons in San Francisco, he posted a 2.42 ERA and saved 123 games. Casilla had a 0.92 ERA in the postseason, but he was stripped of a prominent role in the weeks leading up to the 2016 playoffs. 

Casilla, 36, blew nine saves before being pulled from the ninth inning. He appeared just three times in the final 14 regular season games and just once in the playoffs. He did not take the mound in Game 4 of the NLDS, watching as five other relievers teamed up to give back a three-run lead. 

That moment stung Casilla, and it affected Bruce Bochy, too. The Giants struck quickly in December to bring Mark Melancon in as their new closer, but at the Winter Meetings, Bochy said he would welcome Casilla back in a setup role. 

“He’s a great team player (and) teammate,” Bochy said. “(I) certainly wouldn’t rule it out because he still has great stuff. And he had some hiccups there in that closing role, but I would take him anytime.”

As it turned out, that opportunity was never there for Casilla. The Giants didn’t make another move after the big deal with Melancon, and they’ll rely on younger arms to record most of the outs in the seventh and eighth. Casilla said he’s not bitter about the way it all ended. 

“I have left that in the past,” he said. “It’s a new year, it’s a new year. I have left this in the past.” 

Authorities: Two Dodgers security guards arrested, accused of theft

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Authorities: Two Dodgers security guards arrested, accused of theft

LOS ANGELES -- Prosecutors say two security guards at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium have been arrested and are accused of stealing equipment, baseballs and jerseys from the major league team to sell online.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office says Juan DeDios Prada and Fernando Sierra pleaded not guilty to burglary and other charges Thursday.

Prosecutors say the two security guards conspired with a third man, Jesse Luis Dagnesses, to steal baseball uniforms and other team merchandise to sell online.

They say Prada and Sierra stole more than $3,400 from a locked equipment room at the stadium between January 2013 and February 2016.

Authorities say Dagnesses is accused of receiving $950 in stolen baseballs and jerseys.

It wasn't immediately clear if the men had attorneys who could comment on the allegations.