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Zito falls to 6-9 as Cards shut out Giants

• Goat: The Giants paid $126 million for this? Zito's winless streak stretched to six straight starts and his nine losses are a career-worst before the All-Star break.

• Bonds watch: Barry Bonds went 0-for-3 in his final game of the first half and remained at 751 home runs.


• Quotable: "I think the break will be good for me. I can assess what's going on, become objective and move forward, It's hard to sum up the first
half in a couple of lines. ... Battling yourself is the key to
everyone's failures. It's not me. It's the reason anyone struggles
in this game." -- Zito.

-- ESPN.com news services

Cardinals 7, Giants 0

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Barry Bonds' chase of Hank Aaron is now on a
four-day hiatus. The All-Star break might be coming at a better
time for San Francisco's other star Barry -- struggling left-hander
Barry Zito.

Bonds went 0-for-3 in his final game of the first half and
remained at 751 home runs, Chris Duncan drove in three runs for St.
Louis and the Cardinals avoided a three-game sweep with a 7-0
victory Sunday over the San Francisco Giants.

Duncan's two-run double in the fifth knocked out Zito (6-9), who
ended his disappointing first half with a six-start winless stretch
and four straight dropped decisions. That's hardly what the Giants
or the $126 million man himself expected after he received the
richest deal ever for a pitcher.

"I think the break will be good for me. I can assess what's
going on, become objective and move forward," said Zito, whose
last win was May 30 at New York. "It's hard to sum up the first
half in a couple of lines. ... Battling yourself is the key to
everyone's failures. It's not me. It's the reason anyone struggles
in this game."

Zito will head to Southern California to clear his mind and
spend time with family -- and plans to talk to his father Joe about
his first-half problems.

Ryan Ludwick doubled twice, drove in a run and matched his
career high with three hits, and Todd Wellemeyer (3-1) won for the
first time in five starts since beating the Los Angeles Angels on
June 10.

Wellemeyer, who will be bumped from the rotation in favor of Kip Wells to start the second half, pitched five shutout innings. Four
relievers finished the five-hit shutout, St. Louis' first at home
this season and third overall.

"I've done it for the last three years, so it's no problem at
all," he said. "I knew I was going to end up in the bullpen
eventually."

Duncan also hit an RBI single in the seventh, helping the
Cardinals avert their first three-game sweep at Busch Stadium since
the New York Mets took all three April 1-4 to open the season.

"I thought that was an important game," said Cardinals manager
Tony La Russa, who will manage Bonds on the NL roster in Tuesday
night's All-Star Game in San Francisco. "You keep hearing all the
time, 'If you're only going to win one of three, win the last
one."'

Bonds homered only in the first game of his team's six-game
Midwest trip, Tuesday night at Cincinnati. He is four shy of tying
Aaron's record.

Bonds left the game -- when the first-pitch temperature was 90
degrees -- early for the third straight day. The sellout crowd of
44,613 booed when Kevin Frandsen stepped in as a pinch hitter in
the eighth, certainly hoping to see No. 25 one more time.

"Well, when they scored another run and it was another long
inning, it's a day game after a night game and I just said, 'That's
enough,"' manager Bruce Bochy said.

Bonds walked five times in the first two games of the series,
but was challenged each time Sunday. He flied out to left to end
the first, struck out swinging on a high, 93 mph fastball to end
the third, then flied out to left again to start the sixth.

His pursuit of the Hammer will wait until Friday night, when the
Giants open a three-game home series against the archrival Los
Angeles Dodgers. After that, it's off to Wrigley Field for four
games against the Chicago Cubs and then three at Milwaukee -- the
city where Aaron began and ended his 23-year big league career.

Zito's nine losses are a career-worst before the break. He faced
four batters in the fifth but didn't record an out before giving
way to Scott Atchison.

"He's battling himself, no question about it," Bochy said.
"It really was an ugly day for us. We didn't pitch, hit or play
defense. ... We've got to tighten things up, there's no getting
around it. Our strength is pitching and we got away from it
today."

Zito allowed six runs and eight hits, walked four and struck out
three. There is cause for the Giants to be optimistic that things
will get better: Zito owns a 59-27 career record and 3.26 ERA after
the break.

Catcher Guillermo Rodriguez came out to talk things over with
Zito in the first after a leadoff single to Brendan Ryan followed
by Ludwick's double over Bonds' head in left. Albert Pujols
followed with an RBI single to right and Scott Rolen added a
sacrifice fly two batters later.

While the Cardinals' defense played a clean game for the first
time in the series, rookie shortstop Ryan dropped Roberts' routine
pop fly in the third after losing the ball in the sun. He wound up
getting a force out at second, then someone ran out a pair of
sunglasses for him -- but he put them on the top of his hat and
manager Tony La Russa started gesturing.

Aaron Miles was back to second base after committing three
seventh-inning errors a night earlier that led to three unearned
runs in San Francisco's 7-6 win.

Game notes
After the game, the Giants optioned Atchison to Triple-A
Fresno to make roster room for RHP reliever Vinnie Chulk, who will
come off the bereavement list before Friday's game. ... Zito
allowed 21 runs in the first two innings of his 18 starts before
the break. He went only four innings for the third time in his last
six outings and has a 7.12 ERA during the stretch. ... St. Louis
has won 10 of the last 11 games in which Wellemeyer has pitched,
including seven of eight starts. ... Ludwick doubled for the fifth
straight game. ... The Giants, 3-11 in their last 14 road games,
were shut out for the eighth time this year.