Barry Zito's first road start of the season was one to forget but he rebounded nicely last weekend against the San Diego Padres.
Zito will seek to duplicate that effort when he faces the Padres again Saturday night and try to earn his first win at Petco Park in nearly five years while helping the Giants avoid their longest road losing streak since 2010.
Zito (3-1, 3.42 ERA) had his nine-game win streak dating back to last season snapped April 16 when he was tagged for nine runs in 2 2-3 innings in a 10-8 defeat in Milwaukee. In his following start Sunday, he scattered five singles over seven innings in a 5-0 win over San Diego.
"If you let outings bleed into the next one, that's when things kind of go bad, so you just have to stick with your approach," Zito said after earning only his second win in his last 13 starts against the Padres.
The left-hander was 1-7 with a 6.24 ERA in his 12 previous outings against San Diego (7-15) and is 0-3 with a 7.28 ERA in his last six at Petco Park. He hasn't earned a win there since Aug. 2, 2008.
Zito hasn't made it through the fifth inning in four of his last six starts in San Diego and gave up four runs over four frames in his most recent game there, an 8-7 win for the Giants (13-10) on Aug. 18.
Just as he did this past Sunday, Zito will once again pitch opposite Eric Stults (2-2, 4.70), who gave up a season-high five runs over seven innings against San Francisco last weekend.
"(Stults) just got a couple pitches up and out over the plate that they took advantage of," manager Bud Black said. "They bunched some hits together."
The left-hander, however, is 3-0 with a 3.46 ERA in his last four home starts against the Giants, including two last season.
In this outing, he'll face a team that's dropped three straight since a season high-tying four-game win streak that began with a sweep of the Padres. San Francisco fell 2-1 in Friday's series opener after Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso singled in runs in the third inning.
The Giants had runners on the corners with two outs in the ninth, but Huston Street got Brandon Crawford to ground into a fielder's choice to end the game.
The win gave San Diego its first home streak of 2013 and put it on the verge of matching its season-high three consecutive victories April 15-17.
The Padres could get a boost with Kyle Blanks expected to return to the lineup. The outfielder injured his eyelid when he crashed into a wall in San Francisco during Stults' start Sunday and made a pinch-hit appearance in Friday's win.
The Giants, meanwhile, will try to avoid their first four-game losing streak since dropping five straight July 25-30. They're also seeking to avoid their first five-game road skid since May 19-23, 2010.