By NOEY KUPCHAN
(AP) -- After struggling in the opener of this three-game set, it's safe to say the San Francisco Giants haven't enjoyed their recent visits to Great American Ball Park.
They could be in for another long day at the plate against Bronson Arroyo, who's enjoying one of the best starts of his career.
With Pablo Sandoval on the verge of matching the franchise's longest hitting streak to open a season, the Giants try to avoid a seventh consecutive road loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.
San Francisco, which had won five of six entering Tuesday, saw its recent struggles in Cincinnati (8-9) continue with a 9-2 defeat. Matt Cain allowed three runs over 6 1-3 innings before Dan Otero was tagged for six over the seventh and eighth.
The Giants have been outscored 42-16 and gone just 7 for 50 (.140) with runners in scoring position during their six-game road skid against the Reds.
San Francisco (9-8) was held scoreless over eight innings Tuesday before Sandoval led off the ninth with a single and scored on Buster Posey's two-run homer. Sandoval has hit safely in all 17 games - breaking Willie Mays' San Francisco record to begin a season - and can tie Johnny Rucker of the 1945 New York Giants for the longest opening run in franchise history with another one Wednesday.
The Giants, though, could have a hard time getting things going against Arroyo. The 35-year-old is 1-0 with a 2.91 ERA through his first three turns in the rotation - his lowest career mark through three starts to open a season.
"Really all the three times I've been out, I've been pounding the zone with strikes probably more than I have my whole career," Arroyo, who's issued just one walk in 21 2-3 innings thus far, told the team's official website. "I haven't been throwing a lot of balls.
"Coming out of spring, I was relatively healthy. My back feels good, my arm feels pretty good. I'm at least giving myself a chance to get off on the right foot."
The soft-throwing right-hander earned his first victory Thursday at St. Louis. He gave up a three-run homer to Matt Holliday - one of just five hits - over a season-high eight frames and struck out five in a 6-3 win.
"Same thing he always does. He just doesn't throw any fastballs in fastball counts," Holliday said of Arroyo. "He mixes it up slow, slow and slower and then mixes his fastball in there. He had us off balance."
Arroyo is 3-2 with a 1.81 ERA over his last six starts against the Giants, though he hasn't faced them since 2009.
Arroyo will be opposed by Barry Zito (1-0, 1.71 ERA), who after mostly cruising through his first two starts, labored over five innings of Friday's 4-3, 10-inning victory at New York. He surrendered a pair of solo homers and walked three, throwing 100 pitches.
Zito is 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA over five starts in Cincinnati since joining San Francisco in 2007. He faces a Reds team averaging 5.8 runs during a 4-1 stretch.
Brandon Phillips, who homered and drove in three Tuesday, is 7 for 15 against Zito.
Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff is uncertain to be available after missing three straight games due to a family emergency.
Updated April 25, 2012