Giants-Brewers Preview

A trip to Milwaukee appears to be just what the San Francisco

Giants needed to get their season back on track.

Coming off their highest-scoring game in three years, the Giants

look to sweep a four-game series from the Brewers at Miller Park in

Thursday’s finale.

After losing 10 of 12 to drop from 1 1/2 games out of first

place to 7 1/2 back, San Francisco (44-40) has won the first three

games of this series to pull within five games of NL West-leading

San Diego.

The Giants beat the Brewers by identical 6-1 scores in the first

two games before pounding out 18 hits in Wednesday’s 15-2 victory,

their highest-scoring game since a 15-2 win in Colorado on May 13,

2007. This is the first time San Francisco, which arrived in

Milwaukee 12th in the NL in scoring, plated at least six runs in

three consecutive games since April 14-17.

The Giants got off to a fast start Wednesday, as Andres Torres,

Aubrey Huff and rookie Buster Posey all homered in the first

inning. Posey added a grand slam in a seven-run fourth, and

finished 4 for 4 with six RBIs.

“It’s nice to know that I’m going to be in there and my role has

changed a little bit,” said Posey, who is 12 for 24 with four home

runs and nine RBIs in six games this month. “I’m counted on a

little bit more now.”

The Giants, who entered this series 3-9 in their previous 12

road games, haven’t swept a four-game series away from AT&T

Park since June 6-9, 2008, in Washington. San Francisco swept a

three-set series in Milwaukee in 2004, but has never swept a

four-game series there.

Scheduled starter Barry Zito (7-4, 3.75 ERA) has never won at

Miller Park, though, and is coming off a disappointing outing.

Staked to 7-1 lead through 2 1/2 innings in Colorado on

Saturday, Zito quickly began to unravel. The left-hander ended up

allowing six runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings, and left without

a decision in San Francisco’s 11-8 victory.

Zito hasn’t won since defeating Oakland on June 12, his only

victory in nine starts. He is also 0-3 with a 7.58 ERA in his last

five road outings.

It could be tough for Zito to shake these struggles at Miller

Park, where he’s 0-3 with a 7.88 ERA in five starts since being

acquired by the Giants in 2007.

The Brewers (37-48), outscored 34-5 during a four-game skid,

haven’t been swept in a four-game series at home since July 28-31,

2008, against the Cubs.

“It’s a test of your manhood. You can shrivel up and die, or you

can come out tomorrow and give it all you got. Who knows?” said

third baseman Casey McGehee, who is 4 for 19 in his last five

games.

Manny Parra (3-5, 4.45) takes the hill for Milwaukee after

giving up a season-high five runs and eight hits – including two

homers – in 5 2-3 innings of a 12-5 win in St. Louis on Saturday.

The left-hander, who started the season in the bullpen, is 2-2 with

a 4.87 ERA in eight starts.

This will be Parra’s first start against the Giants since

yielding five runs and six hits in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-1 loss on

April 9, 2009.