By Matt Kawahara
SAN FRANCISCO - Giants manager Bruce Bochy said it would be only natural if Barry Zito made his first start Friday on a bit of an emotional high - what with it also being the team's home opener - and he hoped the left-hander would "keep his concentration out there."
After Jon Jay's leadoff single for St. Louis, Zito allowed just two more hits over seven innings as the Giants beat the Cardinals 1-0 in front of an announced crowd of 41,581 at AT&T Park.
Zito didn't seem bothered much before or during the game.
During an extended ceremony in which the Giants raised their 2012 World Series championship flag, Zito seemed oblivious while playing long toss and warming up in the bullpen.
Zito threw his first three pitches for balls, allowed a leadoff single and then snapped right back into the 2012 form that made him a major reason the Giants had a banner to raise Friday afternoon.
Zito threw 102 pitches and left the mound after the seventh to a standing ovation and chants of "Bar-ry! "Bar-ry!" He allowed three singles and three walks and did not allow a runner to reach second base until there were two outs in the seventh.
The Giants' starting rotation has not allowed an earned run yet this season, a span of 26 innings. Dating back to last season, it was the 15th consecutive game the Giants won in which Zito started.
That streak, of course, included Zito's memorable start in Game 5 of the NLCS in St. Louis. With the Giants one loss from elimination, Zito blanked the Cardinals over 7 2 / 3 innings to send the series back to San Francisco.
On Friday, Zito kept the Cardinals in check with his mid-80s fastball by mixing in cutters and his signature curveball and struck out four. Jeremy Affeldt threw a scoreless eighth inning and Sergio Romo struck out Allen Craig looking to end the game.
It was the second shutout for the Giants in four games this season.
Despite the win, the Giants' continue to struggle to hit with runners in scoring position. They loaded the bases in both the third and fourth innings but scored their lone run in the fourth when Angel Pagan drew a bases-loaded walk with one out.
Marco Scutaro (1 for 15 this season) then struck out and Pablo Sandoval grounded out to end the threat. The Giants also put a runner on second in the sixth and seventh innings and failed to drive him in.
Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.