SAN DIEGO Barry Zito's latest road start was just like the rest of them, and it might have been his last for the Giants.
The left-hander was charged with four earned runs in four innings of Monday's 4-1 loss to the San Diego Padres at Petco Park, and with Matt Cain and Chad Gaudin on the comeback trail, Zito's time in the rotation again appears to be limited. He fell to 0-9 on the road this season and has a 9.56 ERA. The difference between Zito's road ERA and home mark (3.71) is the largest among major-league pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings this season.
"It's been a few things (going wrong on the road), but it's hard to narrow down on one thing," Zito said.
It was easy to pinpoint the problem Monday. Zito walked three in the second inning, including opposing pitcher Ian Kennedy. The Padres went up 3-0 when Chris Denorfia followed the two-out walk of Kennedy with a soft two-run single to right field.
Nick Hundley added a solo homer in the fourth, and Zito was lifted for a pinch hitter in the fifth.
"It's certainly been my toughest year, I think," Zito said. "2008 was tough, but I got a lot better after the All-Star break. This has certainly been the most challenging time."
The Giants announced that several players will begin their big-league careers today. Right-hander Heath Hembree, catcher Johnny Monell and shortstop Ehire Adrianza were among eight call-ups. All three are being promoted to the majors for the first time.
Right-handers George Kontos and Jake Dunning, outfielders Francisco Peguero and Juan Perez and infielder Nick Noonan also will be called up.