Giants' Barry Zito roughed up in spring start 

click to enlarge With the Giants’ season right around the corner, Barry Zito took a step back with his start Sunday. - ALLAN HENRY/US PRESSWIRE
  • Allan Henry/US Presswire
  • With the Giants’ season right around the corner, Barry Zito took a step back with his start Sunday.

PHOENIX — The Chicago White Sox lit up Barry Zito on Sunday in a 5-2 win over the Giants. Zito gave up five runs and nine hits in 2¹⁄³ innings, including back-to-back homers to A.J. Pierzynski and Alex Rios in the third inning.

Moments later, after giving up a double to Gordon Beckham, manager Bruce Bochy lifted him.

Zito said he left pitches too high in the strike zone.

“I’ve been harping on getting the ball down, throwing on a downhill plane,” Zito said. “If the fastball comes out with that downhill plane, and the off-speed stuff comes out where the fastball comes out, that’s ideal for keeping guys off-balance.

“Today, because the arm was late, stuff was recognizable early. When your timing is off and the ball is up, you’re never happy. It’s definitely something that requires attention.”

Zito said his confidence was fine until today.

“Today didn’t feel good, but everything else ... has been going pretty good,” he said.

The left-hander threw about 60 pitches in the game, then — to get in his full workload — threw 25 more pitches in the bullpen. He has two more exhibition starts before the regular season.

“It’s obvious he was off,” Bochy said. “He knows it. Better now than during the season.

“He just didn’t have it today. Overall, I think he’s thrown pretty good this spring.”

NOTES: The Giants (13-10-3) have lost six of their last eight games. ... After Zito departed, pitcher Scott Munter injured himself while trying to cover first base on a grounder to the right side. He left with a strained left calf. ... Bochy inserted backup catcher Hector Sanchez, who has been tearing up the Cactus League, as a pinch-hitter with one out and two runners on in the ninth inning. Sanchez grounded into a double play to end the game. “It’s something he hasn’t done a lot of, I’m sure,” Bochy said of pinch-hitting. “It’s good experience for him.”

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Mike Tulumello

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