Zito even added an RBI single in the fourth, following up his bunt base hit in Friday's win, as Giants starting pitchers drove in a run for the fourth straight game.
This is the ultimate win for Zito, years in the making. Not that he will say it quite that way. That's not how he operates.
When a struggling Zito was told he wasn't going to be on the postseason roster in 2010, in one of Bochy's toughest conversations with a player, the pitcher immediately went to work. He threw a bullpen session, he kept himself ready if needed — but never got the chance. It hurt to the core, even if he never said it.
He tried different deliveries and pitching motions, he added a cutter to his repertoire to give him four solid pitches to keep hitters guessing.
When Bochy told Zito he would go Game 1, it became one of the manager's best conversations with a player.
Zito first pitched to chants of "Barry! Barry!" and later to hollers of "Zito! Zito!" Who could have seen this memorable World Series moment coming for him, only two years after all the boos, from every direction, in his home ballpark?
The Giants have won Zito's last 14 starts, and he hasn't lost since Aug. 2 against the Mets. Zito went 15-8 this season for his most victories since joining the Giants on a seven-year contract before the 2007 season.
"He's kind of been our lucky charm," Bochy said. "Fourteen games now we've found a way to win his ballgames. He's just had great focus out there."
With the Giants, Zito has never been the dominant pitcher he had been across the bay as a member of Oakland's Big Three with Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder. Fans quickly gave up hope of Zito turning things around when he went 43-61 over his first five seasons with the Giants.
In a strange turn of roles, it was Lincecum — who pitched the Game 5 World Series clincher against the Rangers in 2010 — who came in for Zito. Lincecum credits the veteran pitcher for showing him how to better handle the struggles, like this season when The Freak fell into a long funk.
"It was great. Obviously he's riding the highs right now," Lincecum said. "He did great his last outing and once again did a great job for us today. He's got to go against Verlander and that's a tough guy to match up against, but he did his job. He just focused on what he had to do."
Lincecum came through, too. He pitched 2 1-3 perfect innings of relief, striking out five.
Lincecum's outing marked the first time one Cy Young Award winner relieved another in the World Series since Baltimore's Jim Palmer came in for Mike Flanagan in 1983 against the Philadelphia Phillies, according to STATS LLC.
Zito and Lincecum shared a nice moment after this one.
"He's a lot tougher than people think and he's got a lot of pride and respect for the game," general manager Brian Sabean said of Zito. "He really wanted to be out there."
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