Zito thrives as Giants top Braves
San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) - Barry Zito pitched into the ninth inning on Thursday and the San Francisco Giants used a four-run fifth to down the Atlanta Braves, 5-2, in the opener of a four-game series between the playoff hopefuls.
Zito (10-8) allowed five hits, walked three, struck out five and left after allowing a pair of singles to begin the ninth. The 34-year-old lefty improved to 5-1 lifetime against Atlanta.
Hector Sanchez went 2-for-4 and hit a two-run double for the Giants, who were coming off a sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers. They now lead their NL West rivals by three games.
Tommy Hanson (12-6) took the loss in his second start since returning from the 15-day disabled list. He was charged with five runs -- four earned -- on seven hits and three walks over 4 1/3 innings.