SAN FRANCISCO — Even after his father’s passing this week, Barry Zito planned to pitch on turn Saturday just three days later.
And pitch he did.
Zito tossed seven impressive innings with a heavy heart to keep the San Francisco Giants in the game, and they won it 2-1 on Hector Sanchez’s bloop single with one out in the 11th inning to snap a nine-game home losing streak to the Miami Marlins.
“I’m doing all right,” Zito said. “I went out there (Saturday) and was able to keep my stuff down for the most part. … I wanted to stay on turn and help the ballclub the best I can. It was good to be able to go out there and throw. I just try to minimize distractions and take the mound regardless of what it is. Some things are a little heavier than others.”
Giants right fielder Hunter Pence made a diving catch to rob Placido Polanco of a likely go-ahead single to end the 11th as Miami left runners on first and second in back-to-back innings. The Giants beat the Marlins at home for the first time since July 28, 2010.
Mike Dunn (2-2) allowed Gregor Blanco’s infield single to start the 11th. Ryan Webb relieved and gave up Buster Posey’s infield single. Pence was intentionally walked and Sanchez singled to left for his third game-ending hit.
Blanco hit a tying double in the fifth for the Giants.
Sergio Romo struck out Giancarlo Stanton to end the eighth but yielded Polanco’s leadoff single in the 10th. After a strikeout of Jeff Mathis, Javier Lopez relieved and gave up a base hit to pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs. Sandy Rosario (2-0) entered and struck out Justin Ruggiano and Ed Lucas, pumping his fists when the inning ended.
Lucas hit his first career home run as the Marlins grabbed a quick lead on Zito in the first, and added a pair of singles. He traded a signed bat for the souvenir home run ball.
“I think some kid caught it in the outfield,” Lucas said. “They were yelling at him to throw it back. He held onto it. It was a pretty good decision for him.”
Zito took the mound following the Wednesday death of his dad, Joe, at age 84. The left-hander spent that day in Southern California.
“Barry’s the ultimate professional, but when you lose a family member, especially a parent, I can’t imagine what he was going through,” Posey said. “He stuck to his routine and gave us a great performance.”
The pitcher told Bruce Bochy he planned to stay on schedule and make his Saturday start — and the sellout crowd of 41,683 showed its support with a roaring standing ovation when Zito walked off the mound in the seventh to end his outstanding day.
Zito allowed one run on six hits, struck out five and walked two in a second straight no-decision.
The Marlins’ nine-game winning streak at AT&T Park was the club’s longest in franchise history against any opponent.
The nine victories in a row in San Francisco tied the second-longest unbeaten run in the team’s waterfront ballpark with the Padres from July 2, 1995, to Sept. 16, 1996. The Los Angeles Dodgers won 11 in a row in San Francisco from Aug. 19, 2006, to July 15, 2007.
Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford was 0-for-4 while returning to the lineup after missing three games with two sprained fingers on his right hand.
The Giants missed a chance in the first on Blanco’s base-running blunder. He and Marco Scutaro started the inning with consecutive singles, then Posey flied out to shallow center and Marcell Ozuna threw out Blanco at second when he was caught off the bag after taking an early jump.
In the second, Juan Perez reached on a two-out walk only to be picked off at first. Scutaro grounded into an inning-ending double play in the third for yet another squandered chance. Perez was thrown out at the plate in the fifth on a squeeze attempt.
In the fifth, Blanco was credited with an RBI double after a fan reached over the 20-foot wall in right field and snatched the ball on a high bounce. Blanco was then moved to third, as it is the umpires’ discretion to determine where they thought the baserunner would have ended up without the interference.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond received his first career ejection as a skipper for arguing the ruling.
“I thought initially it was a ground-rule double. He called fan interference,” Redmond said. “I just didn’t think Barry Zito would have scored from first.”
Bochy, meanwhile, thought Blanco might have had an inside-the-park homer otherwise.
The 31-year-old Lucas was a career minor leaguer who logged 925 games while trying to break into the big leagues, including six of his 10 minor league years at Triple-A. He finally got his shot on May 30 — eight days after turning 31 — when he made his major league debut as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning against Tampa Bay.
Marlins starter Jacob Turner, facing the Giants for the first time in his career, hung tough in his duel with Zito. Turner singled in the fifth for his first major league hit.
A day after going 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position, San Francisco didn’t convert in such situations until Posey’s hit — putting the Giants at 4-for-25 in the first three games of this series.