Torres: 'It's fun to watch this team play'
Barry Zito improved to 3-1 on the season with a 3.42 ERA. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SAN FRANCISCO -- Buster Posey thought for a few seconds.
The reigning National League most valuable player was at his locker following the Giants' series sweep-clinching 5-0 defeat of San Diego and was processing the question:
More satisfying -- catching a shutout, or hitting your first home run of the season?
"Probably the shutout," Posey said. "Because that's the goal -- to win games."
Posey teamed with battery mate Barry Zito to ensure the victory Sunday. Because while it was indeed Posey's first homer of the year, in the Giants' 19th game and his 55th at-bat of the season, Zito continued his 2013 AT&T Park mastery.
Zito extended his scoreless streak at home to 21 innings -- he has thrown seven shutout innings in each of his three starts on the shores of McCovey Cove -- in shutting down the Padres and allowing just five hits and one walk while striking out four in 102 pitches, 71 strikes.
All this in the wake of his Milwaukee meltdown last week, in which he surrendered nine runs in 2 2/3 innings.
"You just have to have a short-term memory in this game," said Zito, who improved to 3-1 with a 3.42 ERA.
"If you let it bleed into the next start, that's when things can go bad."
Instead, the Padres hitters were made to look bad…and foolish.
Zito said his change-up was "a lot better" from Milwaukee on Tuesday, and that he had better command of all of his off-speed pitches.
After the Brewers bashing, Zito insisted he did not have to tinker with much, approach-wise. Posey and manager Bruce Bochy agreed.
"Good for Z," Bochy said. "He gave (the Brewers) credit and he didn't change anything.
"Great job bouncing back and throwing a great game."
According to Bay Area baseball historian Dave Feldman, Zito became just the fourth Giants pitcher since 1916 to have three straight home starts of seven innings pitched and no runs allowed, along with Carl Hubbell (1933), Larry Jansen (1950) and Matt Cain (2006).
A year ago, Hector Sanchez caught 25 of Zito's 32 starts. This season, Posey has caught all four of Zito's outings.
"He's been consistent," Posey said of Zito.
Consistency is not a word that accurately describes Posey's results as a hitter through the season's first three weeks. Yes, it's a small sample size, but still.
Even Posey admitted he felt a sense of relief when he turned on Eric Stults' first-pitch offering, a hanging curve, and sent the ball rocketing deep into the left-field bleachers for a two-out, two-run shot deep in the fifth inning.
"The longer you go," without a home run, Posey said, "the more you start to think about it."
And as Zito said, in this game, you have to have a short-term memory. Even if the memory is a particularly good one.