'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.

After tumultuous 2016, Peavy making kids, not baseball, top priority

After tumultuous 2016, Peavy making kids, not baseball, top priority

The 2016 calendar year was one to forget for former Giants pitcher Jake Peavy.

Before the 2016 season even started, it was revealed that Peavy lost millions in a ponzi scheme.

During the season, the 35-year-old Peavy battled through injuries and posted a 5.54 ERA in 31 appearances for San Francisco.

And then following the season, his wife of 15 years, Katie, filed for divorce.

That, in part, explains why the Alabama-native has yet to sign a contract for the 2017 season.

While the legal matters are being handled, Peavy is taking care of his four sons and has made them his top priority.

Baseball is taking a backseat.

"It hurts not to be in spring training. I know that day is coming, but right now being a dad is absolutely No. 1. There's no way in a million years that I could leave my boys at this time," Peavy told ESPN this week.

Peavy explained in depth how the ponzi scheme affected his life during the past year.

"It turned my whole world upside-down. For the first time ever, it was hard to give my 150 percent focus, time and energy to baseball. It was such a tough year, because everything I have built and played for was jeopardized to some degree. When you've known people your whole life and career and they let you down and they're not who you thought you were, it's devastating.

"It turned me into a person I never wanted to be. People would text me and I'd say, 'What does this person want from me? What's their motive?' I had numerous relationships for 10-15 years with people who let me and my family down in a huge way. You put the blame on yourself in these situations, but I can't even tell you the mindset I was in from the start of spring training through the season," Peavy said.

Peavy also addressed his divorce.

"I'm not shying away from getting divorced. It's not something I'm proud of or something I wanted or asked for, but it happened and I'm dealing with that. But I also have four boys I'm responsible for in life, and I just feel deep down that it's in my best interests and my family's interests to be there through this time," Peavy said.

And while spring training games are underway, Peavy sounds as if he expects to sign with a team eventually. Once he does, he plans to give the team everything he's got.

"When I sign with a team, I'm all in. For me to leave right now with so much uncertainty in my life, it wouldn't be fair to an organization and it wouldn't be the right thing to do as far as being a dad," Peavy said.

In mid-December, Peavy was reportedly linked to the Padres, the team that drafted him in 1999.

 

Bumgarner allows two runs, Giants start spring training with walk-off homer

Bumgarner allows two runs, Giants start spring training with walk-off homer

BOX SCORE

At Scottsdale, Arizona, Chris Marrero hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth and drove in four runs as the Giants rallied after Madison Bumgarner gave up two runs on two hits in the top of the first.

Marrero, a 2006 first-round draft pick of the Nationals trying to revive his career as a non-roster invitee, had an RBI single in the fifth.

Kevin Shackelford, the seventh Cincinnati pitcher, walked Orlando Calixte to open the ninth and Christian Arroyo blooped a single into left field before Marrero hit a line drive over the wall in left centerfield.

Patrick Kivlehan had a two-run single off Bumgarner in the first and Hunter Pence doubled in a run off Reds starter Rookie Davis. Davis, acquired from the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman deal, is likely to open with Double-A Pensacola this year.