On Monday, Barry Zito will try to help the Giants beat Atlanta for the fifth time in two weeks while he looks to avoid a third consecutive loss.
The Giants (52-71) have won six of their last 13 games, but gone 4-2 against the Braves (56-68) in that span to secure the season series.
San Francisco has used strong pitching to win those matchups with Atlanta, posting a 1.50 ERA while holding the Braves to a .176 batting average in the victories compared to 11.12 and .400, respectively, in the losses. The Giants used that formula to win 3-1 on Sunday as Tim Lincecum yielded one run and three hits while striking out 10 in 7 2-3 innings.
The Giants now hope Zito (6-15, 5.73 ERA) can help them take the four-game series.
The left-hander has lost his last two starts with a 9.28 ERA after showing some promise by allowing three hits in eight innings of a 2-0 win at San Diego on Aug. 2.
Zito appeared headed to another victory Wednesday, allowing two hits in five innings before falling apart in the sixth of a 6-2 loss at Houston. In that inning, the 2002 Cy Young Award winner gave up six runs and two hits with three walks—two forcing in runs—and one hit batter before being pulled with two outs.
“I just lost my aggressiveness,” Zito told the team’s official Web site. “I don’t know. I just did.”
Zito is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts against the Braves, but hasn’t faced them since a road win with Oakland in 2005.
The Braves have lost six of seven after being limited to four hits Sunday, with their lone win an 11-5 victory Saturday. Atlanta has hit .216 and been outscored 43-12 in its losses, with seven of the runs coming in a defeat to the Cubs on Thursday.
Casey Kotchman, acquired by Atlanta in a three-player trade from the Los Angeles Angels for Mark Teixeira, is mired in a 1-for-21 slump over the last seven games. The first baseman is batting .159 (10-for-63) with five RBIs in 18 games since joining the Braves.
Atlanta hopes Jorge Campillo (7-5, 3.09) can rebound from his first loss in seven games as he faces San Francisco for the first time.
The right-hander was reached for five runs—four in the opening inning— and seven hits in five innings of an 8-0 loss to Chicago on Wednesday as Atlanta was swept in a doubleheader. He was 4-0 with a 2.31 ERA in his six previous starts.
“They got on (Campillo) early,” Braves catcher Brian McCann told the team’s official Web site after Wednesday’s loss to the Cubs. “That (first) inning, it seemed like everything fell for them.”
McCann is expected to be back in the lineup after walking as a pinch-hitter Sunday. He went 3-for-9 in the first two games of this series, and is hitting .333 (15-for-45) in his last 12 matchups with San Francisco.