Giants-Padres Preview


A four-game set with the San Diego Padres has the San Francisco Giants getting untracked heading into the All-Star break.

They've added some history along the way.

The Giants try to build on Tim Lincecum's no-hitter as they look to sweep this series with the spiraling Padres on Sunday.

San Francisco (43-50) has won the first three games of this series, matching its total over the previous 19 contests.

The Giants' recent turnaround at the expense of the Padres (41-54) showed few signs of slowing down Saturday, when Lincecum tossed his first no-hitter in a 9-0 victory.

"I felt fine out there from the first pitch," said Lincecum, who threw 148 pitches - the most by a Giant since 1988. "Maybe a little sweaty, but other than that, I felt great."

San Francisco may be hoping Barry Zito (4-6, 4.62 ERA) can draw some inspiration from Lincecum's performance as he takes the mound in the finale.

The Giants would also settle for just a victory since Zito is 0-5 with a 9.38 ERA in seven road starts. The veteran left-hander hasn't won overall since beating Oakland on May 30, going 0-3 with a 5.32 ERA in his last seven.

Zito struggled again Tuesday, surrendering five runs with four walks in six innings while not getting a decision in a 10-6 loss to the New York Mets.

A visit to Petco Park doesn't seem to be ideal for Zito. He's 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in seven starts there since a win on Aug. 2, 2008.

Zito, though, may benefit from continued production from the offense, which is batting .333 with 23 runs in this series.

The Giants have also won five in a row over San Diego for their longest winning streak in the series since reeling off six in a row in 2006. That run also includes San Francisco's last four-game sweep at Petco Park, from Aug. 14-17.

Buster Posey could play a role in matching that stretch. The two-time All-Star catcher has seven hits and six RBIs in this series, and is batting .388 in 20 games at Petco for the best average by any player with at least 80 at-bats there.

He's 16 for 31 with nine RBIs and seven runs in his last eight visits, and he's 6 for 12 with a homer and two doubles off scheduled starter Eric Stults.

The Padres will enter the break as occupants of the NL West cellar, thanks in large part to losing 14 of their past 15 games.

Stults (7-7, 3.50) got the only win in that stretch, and that came in dominant fashion.

The left-hander tossed a four-hitter in a 2-1 win over Colorado on Tuesday - his second complete game in just over three weeks.

"I hadn't had that high a pitch count (122) in a long time," Stults said, "but I was sharp with most of my pitches."

Stults is 4-3 with a 5.40 ERA in 12 career starts versus the Giants, and he's 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA in three this season.