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Giants waste another strong start by Barry Zito

By Rob Maaddi

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, July 22 2012 4:45 p.m. MDT

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito, right, waits for a new ball after Philadelphia Phillies' John Mayberry hit a solo home run in the seventh inning of a baseball game on Sunday, July 22, 2012, in Philadelphia.

H. Rumph Jr, Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — With each quality start, Barry Zito is finally earning that $126 million the San Francisco Giants gave him six years ago.

Zito pitched seven strong innings but had nothing to show for it because the Giants lost 4-3 in 12 innings to last-place Philadelphia on Sunday.

Jimmy Rollins lined an RBI single off Brad Penny in the 12th to avert a three-game sweep against the NL West-leading Giants.

Zito allowed three runs and five hits, striking out seven. The lefty is having his best season for the Giants since signing that huge, seven-year contract in December 2006.

"I like the way he's throwing the ball," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

John Mayberry Jr. hit two solo homers for the Phillies. Nate Schierholtz hit a pair of solo shots for the Giants, who fell to 7-2 since the All-Star break.

"We're getting contributions from one through nine, which is why we had a good trip," hot-hitting Buster Posey said.

The Phillies snapped a seven-game home losing streak and avoided their first sweep against the Giants since 2004.

Penny (0-1) walked Carlos Ruiz with one out in the 12th. Laynce Nix followed with a single to right to move Ruiz to third. Rollins then lined the first pitch to right to end it.

"I've faced Brad Penny a lot. I had an idea what he wanted to do. That's not a role he's used to," Rollins said.

The five-time defending NL East champions are 10½ games behind Atlanta in the wild-card standings.

Kyle Kendrick (4-8) tossed 2 1-3 innings to earn the win and extended his career-best scoreless streak to 18 2-3 innings.

Phillies starter Joe Blanton gave up three runs and seven hits in eight innings, increasing his trade value with another strong second-half start. Since 2008, Blanton has the best record in the majors after the All-Star break at 17-5.

The right-hander will be a free agent after the season, so the Phillies might move him before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline unless they start to make a run.

After Mayberry gave the Phillies their first lead, 3-2, on his second homer in the seventh, Schierholtz answered with his second in the eighth. He hit a high drive to right to tie it at 3.

Blanton escaped further trouble in the inning when right fielder Hunter Pence saved two runs by making a running basket catch on Posey's deep fly to right.

Mayberry drove a 3-2 pitch into the seats in left to tie it at 2 in the fourth. He hadn't driven in a run in his previous 39 at-bats, going back to June 24.

"I tip my hat to him," Zito said.

Pablo Sandoval's RBI double to left-center gave the Giants a 2-1 lead in the fourth.

Schierholtz ripped a 2-0 pitch way out to right for his first career leadoff homer to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.

Chase Utley's RBI triple in the bottom half tied it at 1. Zito escaped a first-and-third, one-out jam by getting Pence to ground into his 13th double play.

Zito stranded runners on second and third in the third by striking out Ryan Howard on a 74 mph curveball.

NOTES: Posey is 18 for 36 in the last 10 games. ... Blanton has allowed 22 homers, second-most in the majors. ... Zito allowed his 12th earned run in the first inning in 19 starts. ... Melky Cabrera extended his hitting streak to nine games with a first-inning double. ... Schierholtz has five homers this season, including two multihomer games. ... Ryan Vogelsong (7-4, 3.21) pitches for the Giants in the opener of a three-game series against San Diego on Monday.

Rob Maaddi can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/RobMaaddi

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