San Francisco’s Zito dominates Texas

Texas (33-24) at San Francisco (32-25), 10:15 p.m. EDT

The last time the Texas Rangers saw the San Francisco Giants, they were watching their counterparts celebrate a championship in Arlington.

Times haven’t been happy when they’ve visited San Francisco, either.

The surging Giants seek a 14th consecutive home victory over the struggling Rangers in the opener of a three-game set Friday night.

San Francisco, which has won 15 of the last 17 overall meetings, beat Texas 3-1 in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series to win the franchise’s first title since moving from New York after the 1957 season.

Friday will mark the teams’ first matchup since that night, though Texas outfielder David Murphy isn’t feeling nostalgic.

“We’re a completely different team,” Murphy told the Rangers’ official website. “The last time we played them was two years ago in the World Series. The last time we played them in the regular season was three years ago. That has no bearing on this group of guys and how we’re going to do this (weekend).”

He certainly hopes previous meetings in San Francisco don’t matter, either.

Texas lost the first two games of the World Series at AT&T Park and has dropped its last 11 regular-season games in San Francisco. The Rangers’ last road victory over the Giants was a 7-3 win at Candlestick Park on June 26, 1998.

Barry Zito didn’t pitch in the World Series, but he beat the Rangers 3-2 on June 21, 2009, in the last regular-season meeting between the clubs. His 18 career victories versus Texas are easily his most against any opponent.

Zito (5-2, 2.98 ERA) allowed four hits in 8 1-3 innings of Sunday’s 2-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs, improving to 3-0 with a 2.59 ERA in five home starts.

The left-hander left the game to a standing ovation, a rarity for him in San Francisco since signing his much-maligned seven-year, $126 million contract in 2007.

“It feels good to have that support,” Zito said. “The fans here are obviously coming out in droves and supporting us through thick and thin. It really fires us up. That’s why we love to play at home so much.”

San Francisco (33-25) has won nine of its last 11 at home and also nine of 11 overall following an 8-3 victory at San Diego on Thursday. Ryan Theriot went 4 for 5 and is hitting .500 (16 for 32) with six RBIs over his last eight games.

Josh Hamilton hasn’t been nearly as good lately for the AL West-leading Rangers, who have dropped seven of nine and are looking to have a better experience in the Bay Area over the weekend.

Texas (33-25) lost three of four at Oakland this week, totaling two runs in the three defeats – including Thursday’s 7-1 loss.

“Over the last three years this is out of the ordinary,” said Hamilton, who is 5 for 29 with 10 strikeouts over his last seven games. “What has made us so good is that if two or three guys were not getting it done, then two or three others would be getting it done. Right now no one is getting it done.”

Matt Harrison (7-3, 4.37) has done a solid job on the mound lately, and he’ll oppose Zito on Friday.

The left-hander has won his last three starts with a 2.49 ERA, allowing three runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

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