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Preview: Zito Looks For Redemption, Giants Look For Sweep

(Sports Network) - Slowly, the San Francisco Giants are getting themselves back into contention in the National League West and their solid offensive run as of late has come at the expense of the sliding Milwaukee Brewers.

Giants hurler Barry Zito hopes to keep the momentum going this afternoon and snap a four-start winless drought in the process as San Francisco goes for its first-ever four-game sweep in Milwaukee.

The Giants have outscored the Brewers, 27-4, over the first three games of this series at Miller Park. More than half of those runs came in last night's 15-2 rout that featured two homers and a career-high six RBI from Buster Posey.

Posey, the fifth overall pick of the 2008 draft, hit the first grand slam of his career and finished with a personal-best four hits. He also hit a two-run homer in the first inning, following solo homers by Andres Torres andAubrey Huff as the Giants hit three homers in the first inning for the first time since Aug. 22, 1999.

San Francisco pulled within five games of first-place San Diego in the NL West and has won six of its last seven versus Milwaukee. The Giants try today for their first four-game road sweep of the Brewers since Sept. 21-24, 2006.

"It was a lot of fun. We just rolled tonight," said Posey after his club won for the fourth time in five games and improved to 4-3 on an 11-game road trip that ends with this weekend's series at Washington.

The 15 runs, the most for San Francisco since May 13, 2007, were more than enough for Tim Lincecum, who struck out 10 over seven innings of one-run ball. His lone mistake was a solo homer hit by Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks to begin the third inning.

Brewers starter Chris Narveson was shelled for 10 runs, nine of those earned, over just 3 1/3 innings as his club dropped its fourth straight game. Milwaukee is on its longest skid since a nine-game slide from May 10-19.

"Tonight they put a whipping on us," said Milwaukee manager Ken Macha. "I don't think anybody was pleased with what was going on tonight. They pretty much teed off on Narveson's fastball in the first inning. Then it looked like he was going to settle down like he's done before, but he ran out of gas."

Zito will try to pitch San Francisco to the sweep tonight but he has gone just 1-3 with a 5.30 earned run average in nine starts since beginning the season 6-1 with a 2.15 ERA. The left-hander is also winless over his last four starts (0-2) and is coming off a no-decision versus the Rockies on Saturday in which he allowed six runs over 5 1/3 innings of his team's 11-8 victory. Zito failed to hold a six-run lead in the game.

The 32-year-old is 7-4 with a 3.75 ERA on the season and just 1-3 with a 6.19 ERA in six career starts versus Milwaukee.

Brewers starter Manny Parra also struggled with a lead last time out, but he was able to hold onto a victory over the Cardinals on Saturday. Parra had an 11-0 lead by the fifth inning, but gave up five runs over 5 2/3 innings and 116 pitches in a 12-5 triumph.

"In my opinion, when you get an 11-0 lead you get through seven innings," Parra told Milwaukee's website.

The 27-year-old southpaw is 2-0 over his last three starts despite a 6.06 ERA and is 2-2 with a 4.87 ERA in eight starts overall while also spending time in the bullpen.

Parra has faced San Francisco six times, three of those starts, and is 2-1 with a 4.37 ERA.