Michael Cuddyer welcomed himself back to the Colorado Rockies' lineup with a big performance just in time to help the club end a nine-game road losing streak against the San Francisco Giants.
Now, he'll try to help Colorado win for the seventh time in eight tries while extending its winning steak over San Francisco to five on Saturday.
Cuddyer was hitting .319 with seven home runs and 23 RBIs when he went on the disabled list May 12 with an inflamed cervical disk.
In his first at-bat since May 8, the outfielder hit a two-run double in the first inning before adding a solo homer in the sixth to help the Rockies (27-21) earn a 5-0 win in Friday's series opener.
"Being able to go out there and help us get the win was nice," Cuddyer said. "I felt comfortable in the box. In the grand scheme of things I really didn't miss that much time."
Colorado has a chance to win five straight over its NL West rival for the first time since 2002.
"They've dominated us every time here," said Carlos Gonzalez, who homered for the second straight game. "That gives us a lot of confidence when you can win a series against a team that won the championship a couple of times the last few years."
Cuddyer, though, is just 2 for 14 lifetime off Barry Zito, who will get the start for the Giants (26-22) as they hope to avoid an eighth loss in 11 contests.
Zito (3-3, 3.91 ERA) allowed one earned run or none in six of his first seven starts, but he surrendered eight runs - five earned - and 12 hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 10-6 loss to Toronto on May 14 before giving up five runs and 11 hits in 5 2-3 frames of Sunday's 5-0 defeat at Colorado.
"Yeah, I've given up quite a few hits the last couple of games," Zito said. "It doesn't feel good to be allowing all those baserunners."
The left-hander, though, had one of his better outings the first time he faced the Rockies on April 10, yielding seven hits in seven innings of a 10-0 home victory. Zito had gone 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA in four starts versus Colorado before this week's defeat.
Juan Nicasio (4-1, 4.47) opposed Zito on Sunday and had his best outing of the season, giving up three hits in six innings. He also ended a six-start streak of allowing at least one home run.
With starter Jeff Francis hoping to return from injury soon, Nicasio may be fighting for his spot in the rotation.
"I (don't) have pressure," he said. "When I go to pitch, I'm focused. I want to do my job, throw strikes."
The right-hander also faced the Giants on April 9, giving up four runs and walking five in five innings of Colorado's 9-6 defeat.
Nicasio will face a San Francisco lineup that has totaled one run and 10 hits over the last two games. Marco Scutaro is 0 for 7 in those contests after batting .481 during a 19-game hitting streak.
Scutaro, who played 95 games for the Rockies before being dealt to the Giants on July 28, is hitting .412 against his former team in 20 games since the trade despite going 0 for 4 on Friday.
Buster Posey went 1 for 3 to extend his hitting streak to eight games. He's hitting .471 with six homers in his last 19 versus the Rockies.