Giants handed first shutout by Rangers

Giants handed first shutout by Rangers

Giants handed first shutout by Rangers
SAN FRANCISCO -- For the Giants, this was nothing like the World Series. Or the regular season, for that matter.

Friday night's rematch with the Texas Rangers, whom the Giants defeated in the 2010 Fall Classic -- and in 11 consecutive home Interleague games dating back to 1998 -- had a vastly different result. Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton homered, which the Giants haven't done at AT&T Park for 14 games in a row, as the Rangers and left-hander Matt Harrison dealt San Francisco its first shutout defeat of the season, 5-0.

The Giants' offensive futility was predictable. Melky Cabrera, the National League's leading hitter, remained on the bench with a stiff right hamstring. Buster Posey, who tops the Giants in home runs and RBIs, didn't catch as Hector Sanchez formed his usual partnership with Barry Zito. Manager Bruce Bochy, sensing that Posey needed a rest and will catch Saturday, declined to start him at first base.

But San Francisco's lineup should receive a boost as Pablo Sandoval, who has recovered sufficiently from surgery to remove his fractured left hamate bone, will leave the disabled list and return to third base Saturday.

"We're a little shorthanded," Bochy said, referring to Cabrera's absence, "and can use another bat in the lineup."

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Facing the watered-down Giants, Harrison (8-3) had little trouble fashioning his third career shutout. He recorded 18 ground-ball outs. Three of San Francisco's five hits were infield singles.

Reflecting this barren night for the Giants, center fielder Angel Pagan's twin hitting streaks of 15 games overall and 28 at AT&T Park ended in an 0-for-4 evening.

"Wow," Giants left fielder Gregor Blanco said at the mere mention of Harrison's name. "He was tough. I think everybody was waiting for him to get the ball up, but he didn't. He was keeping the ball low and throwing pitches wherever he wanted to."

Said Harrison, "That's the best stuff I've had this year, considering throughout the game everything felt right. My fastball was down, my sinker was moving and my changeup was really good."

The Giants moved one runner as far as second base. And he was gone about as quickly as you can say "fundamentals." Zito, on first base after forcing out Brandon Crawford on a foiled sacrifice-bunt try, overslid second on Blanco's subsequent single. Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus, who corralled Blanco's hit behind the bag, shoveled the ball to Kinsler, who wasn't on the base but still easily tagged out Zito.

"I had a little too much momentum," Zito said. "It wasn't my instinct to slide. I have to be more heads-up there. That was definitely a terrible situation for me, taking our team out of a possible [scoring] inning."

Zito entered the game with an 18-5 career record against Texas. The accompanying .783 winning percentage was the highest among pitchers with at least 20 decisions against the Rangers since the franchise moved to Texas in 1972. But that was a somewhat obsolete statistic, since Zito hadn't faced Texas since June 21, 2009. And the Rangers proved it.

Kinsler, who was denied a homer in Game 2 of the 2010 Series when his drive to center field struck the top of the wall and caromed back to Andres Torres, left no doubt in Friday's first inning by planting Zito's second pitch deep into the left-field seats.

The Rangers steadily widened their advantage off Zito (5-3), whose three-game home winning streak dissolved. Craig Gentry, who went 5-for-5, singled home Nelson Cruz in the fourth inning. Hamilton hit his Major League-leading 22nd homer in the fifth. Gentry singled, advanced on Harrison's sacrifice bunt and scored on Kinsler's single in the sixth. Gentry concluded his career-best effort with a ninth-inning RBI single.

Zito partially accomplished his objective against the Rangers. He walked two batters in six innings and neither figured in the scoring.

"I wanted to make them earn it and not give them any free passes," Zito said. "And they earned it."

That was particularly true of Hamilton, who homered to center on a 1-1 curveball.

"It was out, but it was a little bit up," Zito said. "Not a lot of guys can drive it to that part of the yard on that particular pitch. He's a strong guy."

Chris Haft is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.