After two disappointing weeks, the Padres and Diamondbacks square off again on Sunday in the finale of a three-game series at Chase Field.
Both teams have gone 3-7 this month as the Los Angeles Dodgers have taken over the top spot in the division. San Diego (49-40) trails by one game, while Arizona (49-43) is in third place, 2 1/2 games back.
Arizona, though, has won the first two games of this series and is looking for its first three-game sweep of San Diego since April 24-26 of last season. The Diamondbacks have won four in a row against the Padres overall to take a 5-2 advantage in the season series.
They rallied from a four-run deficit in Saturday’s 5-4 win. After a three-run seventh inning, Chad Tracy hit an RBI single in the eighth to score the tiebreaking run for Arizona.
“Right now, we’re getting hits at the right time,” said Tracy, who is 11-for-25 (.440) against San Diego this season. “That’s what we’ve been preaching all year, being accountable, getting the big hit. Guys are starting to step up, and hopefully we can keep this momentum going.”
Arizona will turn to its ace in the finale as Brandon Webb (8-6, 3.37 ERA) goes for his first win of the month.
After holding opponents to only eight earned runs in six June starts, the All-Star right-hander has given up nine in his two July outings - both Diamondbacks losses. He was reached for four runs in seven innings but didn’t factor in the decision of Arizona’s 5-4 defeat at Cincinnati on July 7.
“Overall, I thought it was an average-at-best outing,” Webb said.
Webb is 3-5 with a 3.66 ERA in 16 career starts against the Padres, and 0-2 in four starts against them since Aug. 28, when he last defeated them.
The Padres have lost five of six games, including three straight - one shy of their season-high losing streak set June 8-12. Their .222 batting average in July is the worst in the NL.
In addition to their offensive woes, the Padres are suddenly having problems in the bullpen. San Diego relievers have a major league-best 2.55 ERA, but have given up seven earned runs in six innings during the first two games of this series.
Starter Chris Young gave up one run and two hits in six innings Saturday to leave with a three-run lead, but the bullpen squandered it.
“(Manager Bud Black) made the right decision,” Young said. “If I was out there again tomorrow, I’d do the same thing, hand it over to those guys. They’re awesome.”
San Diego will try to avoid its second three-game sweep of the season with Justin Germano (5-3, 3.90) on the mound. The right-hander won his first five decisions after a May 8 call-up from Triple-A Portland, but is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in his last four starts. He was tagged for a career-high seven runs in four innings of a 7-4 loss to Atlanta on July 6 - his most recent outing.