Grizzlies 4, Giants 3

March 26, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Barry Zito had another encouraging outing in his final start before opening day.

Never mind that it came against minor leaguers.

The left-hander pitched into the seventh inning Wednesday night and the San Francisco Giants lost 4-3 to their Triple-A farm team, the Fresno Grizzlies.

Zito entered with a 10.31 ERA in five exhibition starts, though he did pitch 5 2-3 scoreless innings in his previous outing against the Chicago White Sox -- with his first four strikeouts of the spring.

This time, he yielded four runs, three earned, and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out four, walked two and gave up Ivan Ochoa's go-ahead double in the seventh.

His next start will come Monday in San Francisco's season opener at Dodger Stadium. The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner with Oakland, Zito is beginning the second season of a $126 million, seven-year contract with the Giants. He struggled through his first season in the National League, going 11-13 with a 4.53 ERA.

Ray Durham returned to San Francisco's lineup after missing six games with a strained hamstring and went 0-for-3. Bengie Molina had two hits for the Giants, including an RBI single. Fred Lewis added a two-run double.

The Giants' first visit to Fresno since 2003 drew a record crowd of 14,084 at Chukchansi Park.

Ochoa and Nate Shierholtz had two hits apiece for Fresno. In the ninth inning, Grizzlies relievers Alex Hinshaw and Sergio Romo combined to strike out Dan Ortmeier, Lewis and Eliezer Alfonzo in succession.

Lewis tied the score at 3 with his two-run double in the sixth off Grizzlies reliever Randy Messenger.

Bartolome Fortunado pitched 1 1-3 innings of hitless relief, helping his bid to make San Francisco's bullpen as a non-roster invitee.

Billy Sadler earned the win with one hitless inning of relief. Fresno starter Pat Misch allowed an unearned run through five innings.