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Aurilia's hit beats Rockies in 10th


Aurilia's hit beats Rockies in 10th
SAN FRANCISCO Rich Aurilia is the only current Giant who was around when the franchise wielded one of the biggest home-field advantages in Baseball earlier this decade.

Sunday, the veteran infielder helped the current squad take another huge step toward restoring the Giants' waterfront park mojo, driving in Steve Holm from second base with a one-out single in the bottom of the 10th inning in a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

Barry Zito was thwarted in his quest for his first win of the season despite another terrific start, although he and three relievers held the powerful Rockies lineup at bay until Aurilia secured the Giants' third consecutive winning homestand.

After posting losing home records three of the past four seasons, the Giants have won five consecutive home series to start the season, a first since the franchise moved to San Francisco.

"It's kind of a good feeling to have the home-field advantage that we haven't had the past few years," Aurilia said.

The Giants are 10-4 at AT&T Park, the third-best home record in the National League. Now they just need to find a way to break through on the road, where they are 2-7. They open a seven game trip today against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

"It's important for us to take this momentum out with us on the road," said Zito, who allowed two hits in seven innings.

For the third start in a row, all at home, Zito looked like the former Cy Young award winner Giants fans envisioned when he signed as a free agent three winters ago. Zito had superb command of his curveball, fastball and changeup and at one point retired 15 in a row.

"I'm just really set on keeping my focus out there, regardless of the score or what's going on," Zito said. "I just feel more relentless in having my mind-set where it needs to be, and not letting (outside distractions) come into play."

In all, the Rockies got just one runner as far as second base against Zito, who has allowed just three runs in 201/3 innings at home this season. That's a significant turnaround from last season, when Zito was 3-11 with a 5.93 ERA at home and was booed regularly.

"He's been throwing as well as any of the guys," Aurilia said. "That's great to see, because for all of us that have played the game for awhile know what he's capable of. I know he doesn't have a win yet, but he's throwing the ball extremely well. It's kinda nice having a guy like that in the No. 4 spot in your rotation."

But Sunday was the second time during that stretch the team failed to score while Zito was in the game.

The Giants had their chances. The team, which has scored the fewest runs in the majors, wasted leadoff doubles in the sixth and the seventh by Fred Lewis and Emmanuel Burriss, respectively. The Giants left the bases loaded in the sixth, and allowed the Rockies to wriggle out of a first-and-third, no-out jam in the seventh when Randy Winn struck out and pinch hitter Bengie Molina grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.

None of that mattered after the 10th-inning heroics. Catcher Steve Holm started the rally with a walk, then went to second on Winn's sacrifice bunt. He scored when Aurilia, after fighting off two 0-2 sinkers from Rockies reliever Manny Corpas, lined a fastball to left-center.

"Richie does a good job with two strikes," Winn said. "You really see him bear down. He kinda changes his stance, he spreads out a little bit, and really fights."

Aurilia said, "When I go to the plate I'm confident I'm going to try to put a good at-bat together. I was fortunate enough that he left a pitch out over the plate where I could get the barrel on it and hit it to a spot where they were kinda shifted over to right-center a little bit."

With Aurilia's hit, the Giants concluded their second consecutive homestand with an extra-inning walk-off hit. April 22, Bengie Molina's pinch-hit double in the 10th beat San Diego 1-0.

"It was not so much d?j? vu, but just lets us know we're on the right page," Burriss said. "It's coming along."

Contact Laurence Miedema at lmiedema@mercurynews.com.Giants 1,Rockies 0TODAY: Giants (Jonathan Sanchez 1-1) at Cubs (Ryan Dempster 1-1), 5:05 p.m. TV: CSNBA. Radio: 680-AMINSIDE Barry Zito is not concerned about having no wins in five starts. Page 5


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 4, 2009

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