Embattled starter finding it hard to keep ball down

  • San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito throws to the Arizona Diamondbacks during the third inning of a spring training baseball game Tuesday, March 20, 2012, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Giants starter Barry Zito gave up consecutive homers to A.J. Pierzynski and Alex Rios in the third inning and allowed five runs in less than three innings.

In his final two starts of spring training, Zito will be working on keeping his pitches down. He gave up nine hits, struck out three and walked two in 2 1/3 innings.

"The ball was up in the zone," Zito said. "I've been harping on getting the ball down, throwing a downhill plane and today I was just rushing with my body. The arm couldn't catch up."

Zito threw another 25 pitches in the bullpen after leaving the game, to bring his pitch total to about 85. His ERA is 6.61.

"It's definitely something that requires attention," Zito said about his latest struggles.

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