Whatever Zito is doing has worked.
The veteran left-hander seeks to build on the best April of his 11-year career and continue his recent dominance over the host Florida Marlins on Wednesday night.
Zito (4-0, 1.53 ERA) has seemed to recapture the form that made him an AL Cy Young Award winner in 2002, and motivated the Giants (15-10) to sign him to a seven-year deal Dec. 29, 2006.
That contract led San Francisco fans to boo Zito lustily while he went 31-43 over his first three seasons after moving across the bay.
Zito’s Aprils were particularly poor, as he was 2-11 with a 5.48 ERA in the first month during those seasons. Two years ago, he dropped his first eight decisions.
“When you realize you can handle going 0-8 and getting sent to the bullpen, you don’t worry about much,” Zito said. “It’s not just a coincidence. You say, ‘All I can be is myself.’”
The Giants will gladly take this version of himself. Zito is on his longest winning streak since a six-game run in 2006. He lasted eight innings for the second straight outing Friday, allowing two runs and five hits in a 5-2 home win over Colorado.
Zito has also posted a 0.68 ERA while winning his last four starts against the Marlins (13-13). Two of those came last season, including a 2-1 victory in Florida on June 5.
Meanwhile, Marlins left-hander Nate Robertson(notes) (2-2, 5.18) ended April with a pair of losses. He gave up five runs, five hits and four walks over four innings in each outing, including a 6-4 home loss to San Diego on April 28.
Robertson didn’t have much luck in his only career start against the Giants, a 4-0 loss for Detroit on June 17, 2005.
The Marlins fell short Tuesday night in their attempt to win a season-high third straight, dropping the series opener 9-6 in 12 innings.
San Francisco’s Aaron Rowand(notes) tied it with a solo homer with two outs in the ninth, setting the stage for Aubrey Huff(notes) to hit the go-ahead two-run single three innings later. Huff has six RBIs in his last four games.
“We were just one hit away from shaking hands,” Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “It’s baseball. You can’t hold the ball and run out the clock.”
Rowand is 18 for 45 (.400) in his last 10 games, and 4 for 9 since returning from a fractured cheekbone on Saturday.