With the struggling Haren on the mound, the fading Diamondbacks look to post consecutive wins for the first time in almost a month when they continue their home series with the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night.
Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to help Arizona (73-76) to a 3-1 win over San Francisco in the opener of this four-game set Monday. It was the second win in 10 games for the Diamondbacks, who are still 4 1/2 games back of the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I think we’ve been watching that (the scoreboard) too much,” Arizona pitcher Doug Davis said. “It makes you press and you try to do too much.”
Dunn homered for the 37th time this season and fifth in 31 games since being traded from Cincinnati to Arizona, which hasn’t won two in a row since sweeping a three-game set against San Diego from Aug. 19-21.
The Diamondbacks’ recent struggles have coincided with the problems on the mound by top starters Brandon Webb and Haren. Webb, who appeared to be the front-runner for the NL Cy Young Award most of the season, snapped a three-game losing streak by beating Cincinnati on Friday.
Haren (14-8, 3.39 ERA), meanwhile, takes the ball trying to avoid a third straight losing decision. He is 0-2 with a 5.57 ERA in his last four starts since beating San Diego on Aug. 20.
“I think a problem of mine, too, is taking my last start into games thinking this is the time where I want to turn it around,” Haren told the Diamondbacks’ official Web site. “Actually, speaking to people, what I’m doing is putting the pressure on myself and trying to do more. I think that’s probably been the biggest problem for me is that I’m trying to do too much.”
Haren didn’t factor in the decision of his last start after allowing one earned run and six hits in four innings of Arizona’s 4-3 loss at San Francisco on Wednesday that completed the Giants’ three-game sweep of the Diamondbacks.
The right-hander is 5-4 with a 3.57 ERA in 11 starts versus the Giants, and 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA in three outings against them in 2008.
Rich Aurilia and rookies Pablo Sandoval and Eugenio Velez each had two hits Monday for San Francisco (68-82), which had its three-game winning streak snapped by losing for the second time in 10 contests.
Sandoval is hitting .336 with three homers and 15 RBIs since being called up from the minors on Aug. 13.
Matt Cain (8-12, 3.96) takes the mound for San Francisco looking to avoid a fourth straight losing decision after allowing six runs and nine hits in 3 1-3 innings of an 11-3 loss at San Diego on Thursday.
“It was very frustrating,” said Cain, who is 0-3 with a 6.28 ERA in his last five starts. “I’m embarrassed by the way I pitched. I didn’t come out and perform.”
The right-hander is 3-2 with a 3.49 ERA in nine starts against Arizona.