Saunders looks to build off last season's success against the Padres when the teams continue their three-game set Wednesday night at Petco Park.
Arizona is off to the best start in franchise history after beating San Diego in the series opener 4-2 in 11 innings Tuesday. Chris Young hit a tiebreaking two-run homer to give the Diamondbacks the win after blowing a 2-0 lead.
Young is 10 for 24 (.417) with four doubles, two homers and six RBIs while earning a hit in each of his last six starts against the Padres.
"It gives us good momentum and hopefully we can keep it going," Young said.
Manger Kirk Gibson said he expects games in San Diego to be close.
''We've played so many games in this park, and this is a typical game here where it just kind of hangs close,'' Gibson said. ''As the night goes on, you don't really expect home runs. You get a lot of close baseball in this park, and we did again tonight, but fortunately we won.''
Saunders will look to keep the momentum going in his first start of the season after going 12-13 with a 3.69 ERA in 2011. He finished the year strong by going 4-2 with a 2.68 ERA in his last seven starts, with two of those victories coming against the Padres.
The left-hander went 3-1 with a 1.47 ERA in four total starts versus San Diego last season, not allowing an earned run in 15 2-3 combined innings over those final two outings.
Arizona hopes to have Justin Upton back in the starting lineup after he injured his left thumb sliding to break up a double play in the seventh inning of Sunday's win over San Francisco.
He said the injury isn't serious and he hopes to start Wednesday after entering as a defensive replacement in the 11th inning Tuesday.
"It's a little sore and I went and swung and it didn't feel quite right," Upton told the team's official website. "It's not too bad. It's one of those things where you'd rather be cautious early on than push it early on."
Upton may not want to miss a chance to hit against Cory Luebke, as he's 5 for 10 with three solo homers lifetime off the San Diego starter who will oppose Saunders.
Luebke will be looking to bounce back after allowing six runs - five earned - and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings of a 6-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in his first start Friday.
It may not get much better Wednesday for the left-hander, who lost all three of his starts with a 4.76 ERA against Arizona in 2011.
The Padres (1-4) went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position Tuesday.
"We couldn't get the big hit,'' manager Bud Black said.
Jason Bartlett and Jesus Guzman each drove in a run. Bartlett is hitting .158 (3 for 19) with no extra-base hits in his last five games against Arizona.
- San Diego Padres
- Joe Saunders
- San Diego
- Chris Young