With Barry Zito hoping to continue his recent success Sunday, the NL West-leading Giants try to complete that sweep with a fifth consecutive victory over the Phillies, who look to avoid their longest home skid in 40 seasons.
All-Stars Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera each homered and Gregor Blanco drove in the tiebreaking run with a drag bunt in the 10th inning to give San Francisco (53-41) a 6-5 win over Philadelphia on Saturday.
Looking to complete their first sweep at Philadelphia since Aug. 13-15, 2004, the Giants have averaged 5.5 runs while winning seven of eight since the break to build a 2 1/2-game division lead over Los Angeles.
The Phillies' seven-game home skid is the longest of the same duration since a 2004 slide that included that sweep at the hands of the Giants. An NL-worst 17-29 at home, Philadelphia (41-54) has not dropped eight in a row there since a 10-game losing streak May 16-June 6, 1972.
It appeared the Phillies had a good chance to end that skid Saturday when Ryan Howard's three-run homer in the sixth gave them a 5-4 lead. However, Cabrera tied it with a solo shot in the eighth.
Cabrera has batted .382 with four home runs and 14 RBIs in his last 20 games. He's 7 for 18 (.389) during the Giants' four-game winning streak against the Phillies this season.
Posey, who matched a career high with four hits Saturday, is 11 for 20 versus Philadelphia in 2012.
Zito (8-6, 3.75 ERA) is 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA since he posted a 10.67 ERA while dropping three straight starts from June 8-19. The left-hander allowed three hits over seven innings in a 9-0 win at Atlanta on Tuesday.
It was the fourth time this season Zito did not yield a run, equaling the number of times he accomplished that over the previous two seasons.
"He's tough. I mean mentally tough," manager Bruce Bochy told the Giants' official website. "He's done a great job for us."
Zito is 3-3 with a 4.75 ERA in six starts against the Phillies, but has allowed 10 runs over 12 innings while losing his last two at Citizens Bank Park.
Howard is 1 for 8 with a double against Zito, but has homered in each of the first two games of this series after hitting one in his first eight games of the season.
Joe Blanton (8-8, 4.79) takes the mound looking to help the Phillies avoid the sweep. The right-hander was very good in a 3-2 road win over the Dodgers on Monday, allowing two runs and six hits over eight innings with seven strikeouts and no walks.
"Keeping the ball down was a big difference," said Blanton, who had dropped his previous two starts. "Lately I've had a little bit of trouble doing that as consistently as I did (Monday). I try to throw as many strikes as I can and expand the zone a little bit when I get ahead in the count.''
He gave up four runs and 11 hits in five innings of a 4-2 loss at San Francisco on April 17 to fall to 2-4 with a 5.07 ERA in nine regular season and playoff starts against the Giants.
- San Francisco Giants
- Barry Zito
- Melky Cabrera