Barry Zito eyes another terrific showing on Saturday when the San Francisco Giants continue a three-game series with the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.
Zito opened the year by tossing seven scoreless innings in each of his first two starts, then was rocked for nine runs in only 2 2/3 frames on April 16. But, the former American League Cy Young Award winner rebounded nicely his last time out against San Diego, as he scattered five hits over seven scoreless innings to improve to 3-1, while lowering his ERA to 3.42.
"He didn't change anything (after his last start)", San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "Great job on Barry's part bouncing back and throwing such a great game. You need to be resilient in this game. I felt like he threw well, had good command and had good pitches."
Zito, though, is 5-9 against the Padres with a 4.52 ERA in 22 games (21 starts).
San Diego will counter with the same hurler who lost to Zito last Sunday in lefty Eric Stults, who is 2-2 with a 4.70 ERA. Stults was nowhere near as sharp as his counterpart last weekend, as the Giants ripped him for five runs and eight hits in seven innings.
Stults has faced the Giants 12 times (10 starts) and is 4-3 against them with a 4.94 ERA.
In Friday's opener, Andrew Cashner shined on both the mound and at the plate to lead San Diego to a 2-1 victory.
Cashner (1-1) held the Giants to one run on five hits while striking out five over six strong innings in his second start of the season, and added a single and a stolen base while scoring a key run that helped the Padres to a second straight win following a five-game skid.
Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso each came through with RBI singles for San Diego, while Huston Street stranded a pair of Giants in the ninth to close out the contest.
San Francisco, which entered the set off back-to-back extra-inning defeats to Arizona, was dealt a third straight narrow loss despite a solid showing from Tim Lincecum (2-1). The two-time NL Cy Young winner yielded two runs while fanning nine batters over seven frames in a hard-luck outcome.
"I thought he threw the ball well," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "He left a couple pitches up, but I'll take that outing any time."
Angel Pagan, Buster Posey and Brandon Belt all collected two hits for the Giants, who went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
The Giants swept the Padres last weekend and they have won six of their past eight in San Diego.