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Giants, Zito stumble vs. Padres

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POSTED September 3, 2013 1:04 a.m.

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Barry Zito was on the road and once again, it wasn’t very kind to him. Regardless where Zito pitches these days, the results are usually the same: another loss.

Ian Kennedy beat an NL West opponent for the first time in 12 starts this season, pitching the San Diego Padres past the San Francisco Giants 4-1 on Monday.

Zito (4-11) lost his eighth straight decision. He has won only once in his last 20 starts.

Zito was pulled after four innings, allowing four earned runs, four hits and three walks. He fell to 0-9 with a 10.00 ERA in his last 11 starts away from AT&T Park. The popular 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner is nearing the end of his rich, seven-year contract, and it isn’t pretty.

“We pull for him, believe me,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “I can’t tell you how much we pull for him. He’s such a good teammate. I know he’s in a tough rut and you don’t want to see anybody go through those rough streaks. You hate to see him have to go through it.”

Zito helped the Giants to their second title in three years last season. The three-time All-Star went 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three starts. But this year has been one long struggle for the left-hander.

“It’s certainly been my toughest year,” Zito said. “I just keep coming out and maintaining a positive attitude and be good in the clubhouse for all the guys. But it’s certainly my most challenging time.”

The Giants scored in the fifth inning on Brandon Belt’s double. With runners on second and third, Buster Posey hit a two-out liner that third baseman Logan Forsythe reached high to snag.

In the eighth, the Giants had the tying run at the plate, but Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Crawford failed to produce against reliever Luke Gregerson.

But that was toward the end of the game. At its beginning, Zito pitched well, then all of a sudden, he lost his command and was soon on his way to another loss.

“One thing about Barry, I know the results haven’t been good, but he’s all in on how he prepares, his effort,” Bochy said. “It’s just been a rough go for him, particularly on the road.”

A reflective Zito can’t explain it.

“It’s hard to narrow it down to one thing,” he said. “I’ve been having my tough games on the road consistently through the year. Normally, the splits aren’t really that bad in one direction.”

NOTES: Bochy said RHP Matt Cain will start Saturday against Colorado after he threw a 90-pitch bullpen session on Monday. Cain has been on the DL with a bruised right forearm. ... LHP Jeremy Affeldt was to throw in a simulated game on Tuesday and Bochy said the team will determine his path after that. Affeldt has missed 41 games with a left groin strain. ... Padres 1B Yonder Alonso will undergo an MRI on his ailing right hand on Tuesday. ... Padres 3B Chase Headley remains out of the lineup with a sore back. ... The Padres recalled RHP Burch Smith from Triple-A Tucson.

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