SAN DIEGO – Put Barry Zito in the biggest road ballpark in the majors. Heck, put him in Yellowstone.
It doesn’t matter. Zito just cannot win away from the cool breezes at Third and King. And now the end is a pitch-to-pitch proposition for him with the Giants.
The Giants bumped back Zito’s turn a day, and they had to be motivated to shift him from hitter-friendly Chase Field in Arizona to a better pitcher’s yard. It made no difference.
Zito didn’t have much in the way of stuff and probably got off easy after the San Diego Padres scored four runs against him in four innings. The Giants offense, Brandon Belt aside, had a much tougher time breaking through against Ian Kennedy as they lost 4-1 at Petco Park on Labor Day.
The Giants are 0-11 in Zito’s 11 starts away from AT&T Park this season. And with this loss, the Padres moved back into a tie with the Giants for fourth place (read: last) in the NL West.
Starting pitching report
Zito was laborious, all right, and no sequence summarized it better than a two-batter stretch in the second inning.
The left-hander walked two, but appeared poised to escape after getting the second out on a line drive. But he threw a hittable, 0-2 pitch to No.8 hitter Ronny Cedeno that got lashed for an RBI singleto score the game’s first run.
Then if that wasn’t inexcusable enough with the pitcher on deck … Zito went and walked Kennedy.
The left-hander put himself in a bad spot against Chris Denorfia, who reached out and hit a two-strike pitch that was well out of the strike zone but slow enough that the Padres’ outfielder could hit something fair to right field for a two-run single.
It was a three-run inning and the Padres only hit a couple of singles to account for it.
Zito’s stuff didn’t get much better. Nick Hundley hit a solo homer in the fourth and the left-hander got outs by striking out Kennedy and picking off a runner.
Zito (4-11) lost his eighth consecutive decision since his last victory May 30.
And on the road? Zito is 0-9 with a 10.00 ERA and .412 opponent’s average in 11 starts away from AT&T Park.
His last road victory was Game 5 of the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals – his signature moment as a Giant, and one that, thankfully for him, won’t be forgotten.
It was another Moscozito kind of day.
Guillermo Moscoso started warming up in the first inning. No way did he expect to have a holiday with Zito pitching. Along with Jean Machi, they gave the Giants a chance to rally by combining for four scoreless innings.
At the plate
Buster Posey has 47 extra-base hits this season. Brandon Belt has 49.
Belt just keeps establishing himself as a force in the lineup. He accounted for two of the club’s four hits and his double in the fifth inning drove in their only run.
Posey ended that rally and stranded runners at the corners, but it was hardly his fault. He scorched a line drive at third baseman Chase Headley for the third out.
Otherwise, the Giants struggled again vs. Kennedy, whom they faced as a Padre for the first time since the Arizona Diamondbacks dealt him July 31.
Kennedy is 7-3 with a 2.49 ERA in 18 career starts against the Giants.
It could have been much uglier for Zito.
Pablo Sandoval made a diving catch of Nick Hundley’s line drive in the second inning, which temporarily saved Zito at least one run. Left fielder Gregor Blanco got a terrific jump before snagging Logan Forsythe’s deep drive just short of the wall in the fourth inning.
The Padres announced 25,430 paid. A smallish crowd for Labor Day. Then again, watching the Padres is hard work these days.
The Giants and Padres continue their three-game series at Petco Park on Tuesday. Madison Bumgarner (11-9, 2.91 ERA) takes the mound against left-hander Robbie Erlin (2-2, 5.97). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. PDT.