(Sports Network) - It's not a good sign when a club's ace is mired in a five- start slump and has already suffered a career high in losses.
While San Francisco starter Tim Lincecum tries to work out of his current funk, veteran hurler Barry Zito and the playoff-hopeful Giants will attempt to get back on track tonight versus the Arizona Diamondbacks in the continuation of a three-game series from AT&T Park.
The Giants have dropped two straight and four of six games to fall out of first place in the National League Wild Card standings. They're now a half- game behind Philadelphia, which defeated San Diego on Friday. Last night the Giants suffered a 6-0 loss to the D'Backs in the series opener, as Lincecum was touched for four runs on five hits and four walks over six innings. He fell to 11-9 on the season and understands he has to battle through adversity.
"This is just one of those things...you have to take the punch and just roll with it," Lincecum said after the loss. "It's part of the game and I have to fight through it."
Jose Guillen and Freddy Sanchez did their best to help out the two-time defending NL Cy Young honoree with two hits apiece. San Francisco remained six games behind the Padres for the NL West lead.
Meanwhile, Zito, the 2002 American League Cy Young recipient, is going through his own aches and pains as evidenced by his 0-5 mark and 4.53 earned run average over the last eight games, seven of which have been starts. He tossed an inning of relief in Wednesday's 12-11 setback in 12 innings to Cincinnati, and gave up an RBI single to Joey Votto in the 12th frame to absorb the loss.
Zito lasted only 3 2/3 innings in his previous start on August 22 at St. Louis, as he yielded five runs and seven hits. The lefty is 8-9 overall with a 3.78 ERA this season and 6-3 in 14 games (13 starts) at home. Zito hasn't fared well against Arizona, going 3-6 in 12 career starts.
The Diamondbacks are playing out the string, but it won't stop them from trying to ruin another team's postseason hopes.
Arizona won for the second straight time and posted its fourth victory in the past seven contests with last night's win. Young starter Barry Enright threw seven shutout innings and struck out four batters, while Blaine Boyerand D.J. Carrasco both pitched a scoreless inning of relief to preserve the shutout.
"I'm not going to throw 100 miles per hour," Enright said. "I just have to know what my strengths and weaknesses are and compete."
Adam LaRoche clubbed a three-run homer, while Stephen Drew doubled, tripled and scored three times in the win. Kelly Johnson finished with a trio of hits and two RBI for Arizona.
Taking the mound for the last-place D'Backs tonight will be Daniel Hudson. The right-hander is 3-1 with a 1.72 ERA in five starts since coming over from the Chicago White Sox and did not record a decision his last time out in a 1-0 loss to Colorado on Sunday. He threw seven shutout innings, allowed four hits and struck out nine batters.
Hudson has struck out at least nine batters in his last three starts and will face San Francisco for the first time.