"The more runs you score, the more comfortable the pitcher gets," Durham said. "If he makes a mistake, he's not haunted by it. I really believe scoring those three runs early for Zito kind of helped him."The Giants scoring wasn't all that put Zito at ease. He demonstrated his growing comfort at his new home ballpark, improving to 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA in his last four starts there. "It feels more comfortable in this stadium, definitely," the left-hander said. "The first game was kind of strange for me." Zito helped conclude a pitching effort that limited Houston to three runs and a .181 average (17-for-94) in the series, reflecting the strength of the Giants rotation.
"It's exciting every day to see the next guy throw and see what kind of performance he's going to throw up there," Zito said.Zito squeezed a rubber ball in his pitching hand as he spoke. Molina revealed that his batterymate jammed his thumb on a bunt play at Colorado on May 12.
"I think that's probably bothering him, but he's out there battling," Molina said. "You have to give him credit."The hitters also earned credit. Molina perpetuated his wizardry with two outs and runners in scoring position by stroking both his hits in that situation. He's batting .524 (11-for-21) with 18 RBIs under those conditions. "He's been huge -- big hit after big hit," said Durham, who typically bats one slot ahead of Molina in the Giants lineup. "When I don't get the job done, I can count on him to pick me up. And he has." Molina's explanation for his two-out effectiveness was simple: "I've been lucky enough to get some pitches up and do something with them." On Wednesday, Molina and his teammates did plenty.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less