Harang will try to avoid losing his third straight start and record his first win over Arizona in almost eight years when the Padres and Diamondbacks close their three-game set on Sunday.
Harang (4-2, 4.37 ERA), a San Diego native, is looking to regain the success that helped him win four straight starts to open 2011.
While his ERA is nearly a full run lower than last season when he was with Cincinnati, the right-hander has surrendered 12 runs over 11 innings for a 9.82 ERA in losses at spacious Petco Park against Atlanta and Pittsburgh. Harang had gotten off to a 4-0 start with a 1.88 ERA with his new club after finishing with six wins in each season with the Reds between 2008-10.
Facing the Pirates last Monday, Harang allowed four first-inning runs and committed a key two-out error before serving up his second two-run homer of the frame in the 4-3 loss.
“I felt I was making good pitches after the first inning,” Harang said. “…But the first inning, I felt like the one bad pitch that I didn’t execute there, there’d probably be a different outcome of the game.”
If Harang is to get back into the win column, he’ll have to beat Arizona (15-17) for the first time since Aug. 20, 2003. He’s 0-4 with a 1.84 ERA in eight games after that, and has received only nine runs of support.
With a 6-0 loss Saturday, the Padres (13-20) fell to the Diamondbacks for the fifth time in six games. San Diego has been blanked a major league-high eight times this year, and its 6-14 home record is also the worst in the big leagues.
Asked if changes were coming, manager Bud Black said: “I think you have to continue to watch each and every day for certain signs. We need the group to all rise.”
“Originally there wasn’t any doubt, then I realized what park I was playing in,” Upton said. “I got it pretty good and it skimmed the back of the fence. It’s a lesson learned; you never know if you have a homer here.”
The left-hander seeks his first victory of the season in his seventh start. On Tuesday versus Colorado, he gave up three runs, six hits and walked three in six innings before the Diamondbacks pushed across the tie-breaking run in the eighth of a 4-3 win.
“I didn’t feel like I had my best command or stuff, but we fought through it,” Saunders said. “Got through six and gave us a chance to win the game.”
Saunders is 2-2 with a 4.78 ERA in four games against San Diego, but his only start at Petco was the worst of his career. He was tagged for a career-high nine runs and eight hits in four innings of a 9-3 loss Aug. 25.