Giants Look to Clinch Today

Pressure's on Zito as team tries to secure NL West title

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 04: Barry Zito #75 of the San Francisco Giants throws warm up pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers during a spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 4, 2010 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Barry Zito

    The huge party in San Francisco will have to wait at least until this evening.

    It comes down to two games for the men in orange and black as they go up against the San Diego Padres in a 1:10 p.m. matchup at AT&T Park to clinch the NL West Division title.

    Lefty pitcher Barry Zito takes to the mound for the start of the game. Zito is looking for redemption after taking a pounding against the Rockies a week ago. But the team has confidence in Zito, despite his spotty record.

    "He knows what he's doing out there," team manager Bruce Bochy said.

    Zito is 1-7 with a 6.50 ERA over his last 10 games, nine starts, and is 3-7 in his career against the Padres. If he doesn't get the job done at China Basin Saturday, the pressure moves to either Jonathan Sanchez or Tim Lincecum for a Sunday matchup.

    The simple fact is the Giants must win today or tomorrow for any hope of a postseason life on the field. It would be their first postseason appearance since 2003. If the Padres take the series, the Giants head to San Diego for a one-game tiebreaker. Or they could cross their fingers and hope Philly sweeps Atlanta, giving the Giants a shot at the NL Wild Card.

    The matchup could stretch into Monday if the Giants, Padres and Braves end the regular season in a three-way tie.

    Adrian Gonzalez hit a three-run homer in Friday night's game, Ryan Ludwick and Matt Stairs also connected and the San Diego Padres put San Francisco's potential clinching party on hold for at least a day with a dramatic 6-4 victory.