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Giants vs. Cardinals Game 5: Barry Zito to start with elimination on the line

WIth their backs to the wall, down 3-1 in the NLCS, the San Francisco Giants are pinning their hopes on the left arm of Barry Zito as he starts Game 5 against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night at Busch Stadium.

Zito, he of the seven-year, $126 million contract, has long been the goat of an otherwise solid Giants starting rotation. In his six years with San Francisco, he's posted an undesirable 58-69 record with a 4.47 ERA and was left off the Giants' playoff roster in 2010. Despite his track record of failure in black and orange, the lefty actually had a serviceable second half of 2012 (8-2, 4.31 ERA) and with Madison Bumgarner struggling with fatigue and performance issues, the 2010 World Champs have nowhere else to turn.

The Giants hope there's still some magic left in the soft-tossing left-hander they sunk a ton of money into back in 2007. Against a Cardinals offense that is firing on all cylinders and just one win away from a World Series showdown with the Detroit Tigers, they'll need Barry Zito circa 2002, or they'll be sent packing.

First pitch for Game 5 is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT and the game will be televised on FOX.