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Zito, Bonds combine for Giants' victory

Zito, Bonds combine for Giants' victory

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' clubhouse may not be as relaxed as the Athletics', where they race toy cars before games, but Barry Zito is feeling much more at home after earning his second win for the Giants with a 1-0 victory over Arizona on Saturday.

"These last couple games, it's just been go out and have fun like you're a kid on the field again," Zito said. "You put everything else out of your head and let your stuff work for you."

Zito's stuff was working Saturday, and he had some help from the other Barry -- Bonds -- who took some of the pressure off with a home run in the second inning.

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Zito collected his second win of the season with a 126-pitch performance. Zito lasted into the eighth inning, allowing only four hits while striking out five. Zito effectively located his fastball inside the plate all afternoon, and no D-backs made it past second base while he was pitching. The D-backs have gone 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position in the first two games of the series.

Zito came out to a standing ovation after allowing a hit and walking former Oakland teammate Eric Byrnes in the eighth.

"I'm really happy that Boch [manager Bruce Bochy] let me go out [in the eighth]," Zito said. "But Byrnes put up a great battle. It's always a battle with Byrnes."

Saturday's start was a complete turnaround from Zito's first two starts, where he allowed a combined 13 hits and 10 runs.

"The first week of the season, I was just putting too much pressure on myself," Zito said.

The rest of the team is feeling more relaxed, too, now that the Giants have reached a .500 winning percentage for the first time this season. San Francisco improved to 8-8 and is riding a four-game win streak after getting off to a sluggish 1-6 season start. The Giants have won seven of their last nine games, and since April 9, San Francisco starters have notched a National League-best 2.12 ERA.

Bonds normally wouldn't have played Saturday's afternoon game after a night game, but the Giants are lucky he did, as he provided the only run of the game.

Bonds opened up the second inning with a 457-foot home run into the gathering storm clouds off an 0-1 pitch from Edgar Gonzalez. The shot to center field was the second home run Bonds has hit off the right-hander and his 36th against Arizona.

"It was a majestic shot," Bochy said. "I think the wind held it there, too."

It was Bonds' fifth home run of the season, and he is now 16 away from tying Hank Aaron's record of 755.

Rich Aurilia, who started at third for Pedro Feliz, also added offense by extending his hitting streak to 14 games with a single to left field in the fourth inning. The 14-game streak matches his career high, which he set last year while playing for the Reds.

"See it and hit it. That's my approach, and just try to be relaxed," Aurilia said. "I have good guys in front of me and good guys behind me."

Reliever Brad Hennessey helped Zito get out of the eighth, and Armando Benitez added a nervous, but scoreless, ninth that ended with runners on the corners. The Giants' bullpen hasn't allowed a run in the past 11 innings.

The four-game win streak is comforting, but the Giants still have some kinks in the offense. Bonds' run was the only run the Giants were able to bring in on six hits.

But Bochy isn't letting Saturday's stormy win cloud his focus.

"We are at .500 now and that's a good thing, but we still have to focus forward and concentrate on getting wins," Bochy said. "Don't get caught up in the downs or the highs and just keep grinding."

Becky Regan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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