The left-hander looks to continue his recent run of success with a second straight victory as the Giants open a three-game set against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night at Miller Park.
After a rough first half, Zito (9-11, 3.94 ERA) has been one of the majors’ top pitchers while going 4-2 with a 1.92 ERA in nine starts since the All-Star Break.
Zito, who’s two wins away from matching his season high since joining San Francisco (11 in 2007), allowed one run and struck out seven in 8 1-3 innings to earn the victory in a 5-3 win over wild-card leader Colorado on Saturday. The former Cy Young Award winner is 1-0 while giving up two runs and striking out 15 in 20 1-3 innings over his last three starts.
“Since the All-Star break I don’t know who’s been better,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “This guy can pitch. He has a history of being an outstanding pitcher and he’s showing that. We’re not going to be able to slug it out with anybody. We need our pitchers and Barry has stepped up.”
Zito, however, is 1-3 with a 6.43 ERA in five starts against the Brewers. He allowed three runs in 5 2-3 innings, but didn’t earn a decision in a 7-6 loss at Milwaukee on June 27.
San Francisco (73-61), which is 3-3 against Milwaukee this season, looks to bounce back after falling 2-1 at NL East-leading Philadelphia on Thursday. The Giants outscored the Phillies 5-3 but still lost two of three in the series, and trail the Rockies by one game for the wild card.
“Another Casey McGehee Day,” Milwaukee manager Ken Macha said of the third baseman, who’s 7 for 14 with three homers and 10 RBIs in his last four games.
While McGehee is batting .231 this season against San Francisco, slugger Ryan Braun is hitting .391 versus the Giants in 2009.
Braun is 4 for 10 with two home runs against Zito.
Jeff Suppan(notes) (6-8, 5.20) looks to win his second straight start for the Brewers. He allowed one run in six innings of a 4-1 win over Pittsburgh on Sunday - his first victory since beating the Chicago White Sox on June 12.
The right-hander, who was 0-4 with a 6.70 ERA in his previous nine starts, is making his third start since coming off the disabled list due to a strained oblique muscle.
Suppan is 3-6 with a 5.86 ERA in 10 starts against the Giants, and 0-2 with a 10.24 ERA versus San Francisco this season.
The Brewers are aiming for their fourth straight home victory.