San Francisco Giants Barry Zito delivers a pitch to the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh inning . UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Cardinals fans, heck, baseball fans are asking where did that performance from Barry Zito come from? I read that last night’s 5-0 win by the Giants, was Zito’s first postseason win since 2006, which happened while he was a member of the Oakland A’s. After that, he signed a $126 million, seven-year contract with San Francisco and has been considered a bust. However, with the Cardinals poised to return to the World Series, Zito of old showed up and shut down the St. Louis bats forcing the series back to the bay.

Zito held the Cardinals to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts in 7.2 innings to keep the Giants season alive. His biggest inning came in the second. Yadier Molina led off with a single to center and David Freese doubled down the line on a looping liner that deflected off the glove of right fielder Hunter Pence. With second and third and nobody out, the Cardinals couldn’t score. Daniel Descalso struck out and Pete Kozma was intentionally walked with the pitcher’s spot up. (Suddenly, Tony La Russa’s old move of batting the pitcher eighth didn’t look so silly). Instead of standing up there and hoping for a walk, or the very least going down on strikes with Jon Jay coming up with two outs, Lynn swung the bat and hit a weak grounder to short for an easy 6-4-3 double play.

AUDIO Mike Matheny on why Lynn swung the bat (:48)

From that point on the Cardinals would never really threaten as Zito came up with four 1-2-3 innings. He got the run support he needed when the Giants scored four runs in the fourth. It was the third time this series, the Giants put up for runs in an inning.

Giants Pablo Sandoval yells as he runs the bases after hitting a solo home run in the eighth inning. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

With one out and runners on first and second, Pence hit a high chopper to Lynn who moved to his left, but his throw to second base hit the bag and glanced off into the outfield allowing a run to score and putting runners on first and third. After a pop out, Gregor Blanco walked and Lynn gave up a two run single to Brandon Crawford with the bases loaded and then a bunt single by Zito to score the fourth run. Third baseman David Freese was playing too far back and Zito took advantage of it with a great bunt.

AUDIO Pete Kozma takes blame and Lynn talks about the throw (:30)

This is Lynn’s third start and he has yet to finish the fourth inning this postseason. He’s allowed 10 runs, six earned in 10.1 innings in games which he has started.  He is filling in for the injured Jaime Garcia and Jake Westbrook continues to throw on the side in hopes of being ready later in the postseason. 

The Giants tacked on a run in the eighth when Pablo Sandoval hit a solo home run off Mitchell Boggs to cap off the scoring. 

Game 6 is Sunday night at 6:30 and will pit Ryan Vogelsong, winner in Game 2 vs. Chris Carpenter.