Tomko attempts to notch a second straight win for the Giants when they continue a four-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 32-year-old right-hander was demoted to the bullpen on June 28 two days after being shelled for six runs and 10 hits over 2 2-3 innings in a 16-0 loss at Oakland. Tomko made only a pair of relief appearances before returning to the rotation on July 7 against Cincinnati.
Tomko’s return was a successful one as he yielded one run and six hits over five-plus innings in a 5-1 victory. He left after loading the bases in the sixth, but San Francisco’s bullpen pitched out of the jam without allowing a run.
“The bullpen picked me up huge,” Tomko said. “Those guys don’t get the credit that they should. They came up big tonight.”
Tomko had been 0-3 with a 10.13 ERA over his previous four starts. He is 1-2 with a 4.34 ERA in three starts against the Dodgers this season.
The Giants’ bullpen has been bolstered by the return of LaTroy Hawkins, who has a 1.93 ERA in five appearances since being activated off the disabled list on July 4. Hawkins had a 5.48 ERA over his first six appearances.
“I see a stronger arm,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said. “I see somebody who really doesn’t hesitate and can throw a fastball by a hitter. I didn’t see that at the beginning, when he came over here.”
San Francisco can move ahead of Los Angeles into third place in the NL West with a win Saturday. The Giants have won two straight to start the series after Noah Lowry and Scott Eyre combined on a two-hitter in a 6-0 win Friday.
Los Angeles second baseman Jeff Kent was scratched from the lineup Friday due to soreness in his left wrist. Kent, who leads the Dodgers with 60 RBIs and 51 runs, is hitting .290 (9-for-31) over his last nine games.
While one All-Star middle infielder was out for Los Angeles, another returned when shortstop Cesar Izturis was activated off the disabled list Friday. Izturis, who was hitless in four at-bats, was second in the batting order so red-hot rookie Oscar Robles could lead off.
Robles is batting .450 (18-for-40) over his last nine games.
“He’s done a great job getting on base,” said Izturis about Robles. “Give him credit. I wasn’t surprised. Without (injured regulars) J.D. Drew and without Milton Bradley, this is good for the team and good for me.”