SAN FRANCISCO – You couldn’t blame the Giants if they petitioned the commissioner to turn this three-game series against Colorado into a four-game set.
They completed a three-game sweep of the Rockies with Wednesday’s 10-0 rout that turned lopsided early and continued to get better for the home team. Barry Zito threw seven sterling innings and now has a 14-inning scoreless streak to start the season. The Giants have won 16 consecutive games in which Zito has started (that includes three postseason starts from last season). That’s the longest such streak in franchise history since they also won 16 straight behind Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell in 1936. The left-hander has also won 11 consecutive decisions dating back to last season (and including the playoffs).
As they head out on a seven-game road trip, the Giants’ bats are heating up. They knocked out 16 hits Wednesday, the second straight game they’ve established a season high in that category. It was one of those feel-good days in every facet for the Giants, who are 6-3 and tied for first place in the NL West with Arizona.
Starting pitching report
Zito was outstanding, though he wasn’t exactly pitching in a pressure cooker after being staked to an early 7-0 lead. He’s thrown seven scoreless innings in both of his starts so far, offering early evidence that he’s capable of backing up last year’s 15-win campaign. The lefty scattered seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Just two Rockies advanced as far as third base. Zito mixed his fastball and off-speed stuff well. With runners on the corners and two outs in the sixth, he showed Jordan Pacheco his rainbow curve and then got him to chase an elevated fastball for strike three.
Bruce Bochy said before the game he was hoping to stay away from relievers Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla, who both had been used heavily lately. The relief crew got to watch most of this one in peace thanks to the early lead and Zito’s dominance.
At the plate
It was a fun day to be in the lineup, as everyone in the Giants’ batting order either had a hit or scored a run. Certainly Buster Posey’s afternoon brought a smile to Bruce Bochy’s face. Posey came in batting .208 but finished just a homer short of the cycle and collected three RBIs. Also encouraging: Two more hits and an RBI for Marco Scutaro, who went 6 for 11 in the series. And that pregame chat with Kevin Durant must have paid off for struggling Brandon Belt, who also had two hits. Andres Torres had two RBI. But no one was busier than Zito, who made like Wade Boggs and twice went the opposite way with singles. It was the first multi-hit game of Zito’s major league career. Just for kicks, he even got his uniform dirty, sliding into third after tagging up from second on Marco Scutaro’s second-inning fly ball.
In the field
The Giants turned in a clean game with the glove. An early highlight came courtesy of Joaquin Arias, who spelled Pablo Sandoval at third base. Arias went to his knee to stop a sharply hit ball off the bat of Michael Cuddyer, spun and made the throw to first.
It was quite the satisfying day for a crowd of 41,606, who witnessed as dominant a victory as the Giants are likely to notch this season. The unseasonably warm weather was icing on the cake.
The Giants have a chance to keep the momentum rolling as they start a seven-game road trip against the Cubs and Brewers, who could bring up the rear in the NL Central. Ryan Vogelsong takes the ball in Thursday’s opener at Wrigley Field, and he’ll be motivated after his 2013 debut, when he gave up five runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings and took the loss against the Cardinals. Carlos Villanueva will start for Chicago.