San Diego (48-77) at Arizona (65-60)

Fair Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 92° F
  • Game info: 9:40 pm EDT Wed Aug 20, 2008
  • TV: Ch4, FSAZ
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres combined for 13 runs in their series opener as Arizona claimed a one-game lead in the tight NL West race.

The middle game of the series doesn’t figure to be nearly the offensive showcase.

Two of the NL’s best starters will take the mound Wednesday when Dan Haren and the Diamondbacks try to continue their dominance within the division against Jake Peavy and the visiting Padres.

Arizona (65-60) has been in a close battle with the Los Angeles Dodgers for first in the West, as the teams were tied atop the division for the 12th time this season on Tuesday.

But while the Dodgers lost 8-3 at home to Colorado in their series opener, the Diamondbacks hung on for a 7-6 win over the Padres (48-77) despite nearly blowing a four-run lead in the ninth.

Adam Dunn, acquired from Cincinnati on Aug. 11, hit his NL-leading 33rd homer—and first for the Diamondbacks—in the fourth inning.

“It’s a good feeling to have,” Dunn said. “Probably Opening Day and the opening day of deer season are about the only times I get butterflies.”

Arizona improved to 8-5 against San Diego this season and a stunning 32-16 against the West, by far the best winning percentage for a team against its division rivals in the majors. Improving upon that mark won’t be easy though, as Peavy (9-8, 2.61 ERA), the NL’s reigning Cy Young award winner, takes the mound.

Peavy is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA against the Diamondbacks this season, and shut them down in his only start at Chase Field. He gave up just three hits in seven shutout innings, striking out six, in a 4-2 win on July 5.

He’s given up one run in seven innings in three of his last four starts, including his effort Thursday against Milwaukee. Peavy struck out eight Brewers and outpitched Ben Sheets in a 3-2 victory.

That quieted talk that Peavy was having his starts shifted around in order to miss some matchups with other big-name starters. Prior to the win against Sheets, he’d had starts where he would have faced San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum, New York’s Johan Santana and Milwaukee’s CC Sabathia all pushed back.

“People were saying ‘Why didn’t he pitch against Sabathia?’” Peavy said. “Sheets is every bit of what Sabathia is. This guy started the All-Star game. A matchup like that is what a competitor loves to do.”

He’ll get the chance to top another All-Star on Wednesday. Haren (13-6, 2.96) is 8-2 with a 2.40 ERA since June 1, and lasted eight innings for the third time this season on Thursday in Colorado.

Haren gave up two runs and seven hits, striking out nine, in the 6-2 win over the Rockies. That start came on the heels of two sub-par outings, when he allowed 10 runs in 11 1-3 innings against Pittsburgh and Atlanta.

“I haven’t really been throwing the ball too well lately,” Haren told the Diamondbacks’ official Web site. “I threw the ball great for two months and have been going through a stretch where I’m scuffling a little bit, but you know, that’s just part of a long season.”

Haren is 2-1 with a 2.14 ERA in three starts against San Diego this season, and has pitched exactly seven innings each time.

Haren has the same ERA - 2.96 - in 13 starts at Chase Field and 12 road starts this year. Peavy, on the other hand, has a 1.42 ERA in 11 home starts, but a 4.14 ERA on the road.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Peavy SF vs. D. Haren LAD
10-11 Record 16-8
2.85 ERA 3.33
166 K 206
59 BB 40
1.18 WHIP 1.13

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Aug 20