After Tim Lincecum’s seven strong innings helped San Francisco (31-27) win 2-1 on Tuesday, Zito (4-3, 3.88 ERA) gets the ball with a chance to give the Giants the two-game sweep and their longest streak since a 3-0 run that preceded losses at Toronto (24-34) on May 14 and 15.
The veteran left-hander was tagged for eight runs - five earned - and a season-high 12 hits over 5 2-3 innings of a 10-6 loss in the opener of that series. Zito is 0-3 with a 10.19 ERA in four starts outside San Francisco, but he’s 4-0 with a 1.40 ERA in his seven outings at AT&T Park.
The Giants have won all of those, and including Game 1 of the World Series, they’re 14-0 in Zito’s home starts since a 9-1 loss to the New York Mets on Aug. 2.
The former AL Cy Young winner found a way to keep that streak alive Thursday, working around a season-high six walks in Thursday’s 5-2 win over Oakland.
“It’s a credit to Z for keeping his poise and making his pitches when he had to,” manager Bruce Bochy told the Giants’ official website of Zito, who struck out five and gave up one run in six innings.
Dickey (4-7, 5.18) hasn’t been making his pitches of late, posting an 8.53 ERA while losing his last two outings.
“He’s been battling that, trying to find (the velocity on the knuckleball),” manager John Gibbons said of Dickey, who permitted six runs and a season-high 11 hits over six innings of Thursday’s 11-3 loss at Atlanta.
Dickey already has one more loss than last season when he won the NL Cy Young with the Mets, but he’s confident he’ll find his way out of this rough patch.
“I certainly won’t (quit searching for answers),” he said. “And I’ll find it.”
Dickey hasn’t found much success in day games, going 1-4 with a 6.96 ERA in five starts.
He’s 1-1 with a 3.91 ERA in four starts against San Francisco after striking out a season-best 10 on May 14 while giving up two runs in six innings.
Former Blue Jay Marco Scutaro who went 2 for 3 off Dickey in that contest, is 5 for 12 as the Giants have dropped two of three to Toronto in 2013.
Melky Cabrera is 7 for 12 in the season series after going 2 for 4 on Tuesday. It was his return to AT&T Park after receiving a 50-game suspension Aug. 15 for a positive testosterone test that effectively ended his career with the Giants, who didn’t add him to the postseason roster when he was cleared to return for the NLCS.
“He was a good player for us, and now he’s not, so you’re going to hear (boos) here,” Lincecum said of Cabrera, who went 3 for 4 off Zito last month.
Edwin Encarnacion is batting .341 with seven homers and 23 RBIs in his last 20 games after going deep off Lincecum on Tuesday.
Andres Torres hit a two-run homer in the opener and is batting .371 in 23 home games.
The Giants, who open a nine-game trip Friday against NL West-leading Arizona, are 6-1 all-time with the Blue Jays in town.