The Giants likely would have been thrilled if Barry Zito made it through five innings tonight while keeping the team in the game, but he has exceeded all expectations by holding the Cardinals scoreless through seven innings.
Zito has allowed just five hits and one walk (which was intentional) while striking out five. The southpaw got off to a bit of a shaky start in the first two innings, but retired 11 in a row until a two-out single by Daniel Descalso in the seventh. He’s at 99 pitches through seven, but will get a chance to start the eighth inning at the very least. If the Giants can hold on, Zito will have his first postseason win since Game 1 of the 2006 ALDS against the Twins.
Pablo Sandoval just tacked on a solo homer against Mitchell Boggs, so the Giants currently lead this one 5-0 going into the bottom of the eighth.
Update (12:58 AM ET): Per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Samardzija has been diagnosed with a strained pectoral muscle. He’ll be shut down for a week. That’s good news for the Giants, considering the alternatives.
Giants starter Jeff Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his ailing right shoulder, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. The right-hander struggled in a minor league game on Wednesday, surrendering a pair of home runs and hitting a batter. Overall this spring, Samardzija has given up 15 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits (six homers) and seven walks with seven strikeouts in 11 innings.
This may mean Samardzija won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Derek Holland would likely replace Samardzija in the rotation. Holland had been competing for the No. 5 spot in the Giants’ rotation.
Samardzija led the National League in losses last season with 15, also posting a 4.42 ERA with a 205/32 K/BB ratio in a league-high 207 2/3 innings. Since becoming a starter, Samardzija has been able to avoid injury, making 32 or 33 starts in each of the last five seasons.