ANAHEIM -- The Giants have been able to be patient with Tim Lincecum's struggles in large part because Barry Zito got off to such a good start. That makes Zito's implosion Tuesday night doubly concerning.
Zito didn't make it through the fourth inning of a 12-5 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, giving up eight earned runs for the fifth time in his Giants career. He has been charged with at least four earned runs in five of his last seven starts.
The Giants have lost their last six games with Zito or Lincecum on the mound. During the same stretch, they're 7-1 behind the staff's three other starters.
"We've got to get Zito and Timmy back on track," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Pitching is a key for us. Barry got a little too much of the zone. It was a struggle from the start."
On a night when the lineup had 13 hits, Zito was knocked off the tracks in the very first inning.
Rookie Mike Trout, who reached base five times, led off the Angels first with a double. Torii Hunter reached on a bunt single before Zito grooved a cutter that Albert Pujols lined over the fence in left-center field.
The first five Angels reached base, and they tacked on another run before Zito finally got out of the inning. Zito walked three and paid for each one in his last start, leading him to come out with an aggressive mindset against the Angels.
"I've got to tip my hat," he said. "It's hard to do that, but I went back and watched tape, and a lot
The Angels put up another big number in the fourth inning.
Zito gave up two singles before walking Pujols to load the bases. George Kontos, who had warmed up in the first inning, entered to face Mark Trumbo and surrendered a blast to the deepest part of the ballpark. Center fielder Angel Pagan couldn't make the catch at the wall, and as the ball bounced back toward the infield, all three runners scored, and the Angels led 8-1.
"I was focusing on getting to the point where the ball would be, and when I went to jump my leg hit the wall," Pagan said.
Zito had a 2.53 ERA through his first seven starts; now it's 4.35.
"He's just making too many mistakes," Bochy said. "He didn't have his good location tonight, but he was aggressive in the zone. That's what he wanted to do, but he was wild."
Behind three hits apiece from Melky Cabrera and Joaquin Arias, the Giants chipped away. They trailed 9-5 in the seventh when Pablo Sandoval's two-out liner was hit right at Pujols, leaving two runners in scoring position.
The Giants again put runners on second and third in the eighth, but Gregor Blanco struck out and Ryan Theriot lined out to right.
With hits in his first two at-bats Tuesday, Cabrera became the fastest in the franchise's San Francisco era to reach 100 hits. He did so in 291 at-bats, surpassing Willie Mays, who reached the milestone in 295 at-bats in 1958, the Giants inaugural season in San Francisco.
"You run out of superlatives," Bochy said. "This guy has been a machine for us."