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SF@STL: Zito tosses 6 2/3 strong innings for win

Their home park had become rather inhospitable toward their hitters lately, but the Giants got on the AT&T Park merry-go-round a bit on Saturday to force a rubber game in their series against the Rockies.

After the Giants knocked out a 9-3 victory, it'll be lefty Barry Zito making his 23rd start of the season in Sunday's finale, matching up with Rockies right-hander Alex White in the battle of National League West foes.

The Rockies started off the series with a shutout of the Giants on Friday night, handing the home team its fifth home blanking of the season. With the Giants' bats entering Saturday's game with an NL-low 3.21 runs per game at home, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was hoping his club would manufacture some runs -- and he got his wish.

"It was good to see the guys put some runs on the board and get some momentum going," Bochy said of the Giants' biggest scoring output since June 13.

A Buster Posey homer helped, but the Giants were buoyed by 12 other hits. Considering the Giants had hit .114 in their previous three home games, that was a welcome sight for Bochy.

"There are base hits out there," Bochy said. "You have to make sure that we're just staying within our game and not pressing. We've played well here until the recent weeks, and it has got to get better in order for us to get this thing done. We have to quit talking about it and go do it."

Whether the Giants can do it another day depends, in large part, on how White performs in his first outing against them this season. Making his 12th start of a season split between the Rockies and Triple-A Colorado Springs, White is 0-2 with an 8.38 ERA in two career starts vs. San Francisco.

In two starts since being recalled from Triple-A, White has allowed two earned runs on six hits in 9 1/3 innings of work, with the Rockies winning both of those starts.

Zito, meanwhile, enters his 17th start against Colorado with a sparkling 6-2 record and 2.39 ERA, having thrown a shutout against the Rockies in his 2012 debut in April.

Rockies: Fowler scratched with sore back
• Center fielder Dexter Fowler was originally in the Rockies' lineup on Saturday, but was scratched so that he could deal with back spasms stemming from a play on Friday night.

When Fowler will be ready to return to the lineup remained up for grabs, as manager Jim Tracy avoided using him on Saturday and planned to re-evaluate him on Sunday.

Fowler himself didn't know how he'd feel another 24 hours after a lunge for a ball started the back spasms.

"I don't have a clue. It just came up on me, so you never know," Fowler said. "I reached up and felt it in my back. It was my whole back, so it wasn't just one spot. I think it was a spasm."

• With five scoreless innings on Friday, right-hander Tyler Chatwood earned a third start since being called up from Triple-A. He is likely to start Tuesday's home game against the Brewers.

• D.J. LeMahieu recorded his first Major League homer off the Giants' Matt Cain on Saturday.

Giants: Sandoval inches closer
• Pablo Sandoval's return to the Giants could come as soon as Monday, as he got in five innings of work on Friday with Class A San Jose and was slated to get into more action on Saturday. Sunday was being pegged as what's hoped to be his last Minor League rehabilitation appearance.

"We'll see how he's going, but he'll probably play one more game [on Sunday]. If all goes well there, [he'll be] joining us in the next series," Bochy said.

• With a homer on a 2-for-4 day on Saturday, Posey continued his recent mastery at the plate. He now has hit safely in 23 of 26 games, batting .443 with 14 runs, seven doubles, nine homers and 32 RBIs since the All-Star break -- leading the Majors in average and RBIs during that time span.

Worth noting
• The Giants now lead the season series, 7-3, with eight games remaining. The Giants won the season series, 13-5, in 2011, and the Rockies last won a season series with an 11-7 mark in 2008.

• Following Sunday's game, the Rockies head home for a six-game homestand featuring visits by the Brewers starting on Monday, followed by the Marlins for a four-game weekend set. The Giants continue their homestand with the NL East-leading Nationals coming to town for their only series of the regular season. Comments