The San Francisco Giants acquired Ryan Garko hoping he could add some offensive punch to their lineup and help them compete for a playoff spot. He appears to be finally delivering.
Garko looks to build on his most productive performance as a Giant when San Francisco tries for its fourth win in five games Wednesday night against the struggling Cincinnati Reds.The Giants (65-54), one game behind Colorado for the NL wild-card lead, were counting on Garko to provide a strong offensive boost when they acquired him from Cleveland on July 27. However, the first baseman hit .208 with four RBIs as San Francisco went 9-8 in his first 17 games with the club.Garko finally produced at the plate Tuesday, collecting four RBIs on two hits -- including a two-run double in the 10th inning -- to power an 8-5 win over the Reds (50-68).Garko, who hit .285 with 11 homers and 39 RBIs in 78 games for the Indians, admitted he might have been pressing since joining the Giants."My first time in the organization and being on a team in the race, I'm sure it's in the back of my mind," Garko said. "I don't think about it when I'm on the field, but I'm human. I'm sure it creeps into your head."It was good to come through with runners on base. I think it's important to have an approach with men on base."The Giants will now turn to Barry Zito (8-11, 4.44 ERA), who is looking to get some help and rebound from his only loss in five starts.The left-hander allowed three runs and struck out five in five innings while the Giants managed four hits in a 3-0 loss at New York on Friday. The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner is 4-4 with a 4.25 ERA in his last nine starts, getting no runs of support in any of those defeats with three coming on the road.That stretch, though, includes a 4-2 home victory over Cincinnati on Aug. 8, as Zito yielded two runs and three hits in six innings. He's 3-2 with an 8.59 ERA in six career games against the Reds.Cincinnati is on a four-game slide and is 8-23 since the All-Star game, tying Baltimore for the worst record in baseball following the break.The Reds give the ball to Bronson Arroyo (11-11, 4.74), who pitched a two-hitter in Thursday's 7-0 win over Washington. The complete game was the right-hander's third of the season, equaling a career high while tying four others for third in the NL -- one behind Giants teammates Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum.Prior to putting together that stellar outing, Arroyo went 0-3 with a 4.91 ERA in four starts -- all Cincinnati defeats. He lost to Zito on Aug. 8 when he was reached for three runs in seven innings.Arroyo, however, is 3-0 with a 1.99 ERA in three home starts against the Giants since joining Cincinnati in 2006.