ANAHEIM -– Barry Zito turned in four solid innings and then departed Wednesday’s game in what’s very likely the final outing of his career.
The A’s lefty gave up a pair of homers, one to Mike Trout and the other to David Freese, but he used three double plays to help counter the four walks he issued. It was a much-improved performance over Saturday’s start against the Giants, when he didn’t make it out of the third in what, at the time, was believed to be his final career start.
Zito has strongly hinted he’ll retire after this season, and Wednesday was one last chance for him to finish up on a strong note. He gave up four hits and two runs and struck out two over 76 pitches. A’s manager Bob Melvin had indicated a pitch count of roughly 70 for Zito, who left with a 3-2 lead.
His final hitter provided a memory, as he snared a liner off the bat of Johnny Giavotella and threw to first to double him off and end the fourth.
Zito’s fastball topped out at 85, and both homers came on that pitch. But he otherwise used his changeup and curve – each clocking in the low 70’s -- to keep Angels hitters off-balance. Unlike Saturday’s raucous ovation at the Coliseum, Zito’s departure from Wednesday’s game came and went in subtle fashion. When reliever Daniel Coulombe trotted in from the bullpen to start the bottom of the fifth, it signaled the curtain likely falling on a 15-year career for the 2002 Cy Young winner.