Diamondbacks-Padres Preview

The Associated Press

The Arizona Diamondbacks may already be looking forward to 2014, and Matt Davidson is giving them good reason for that.

Chris Owings' contributions are also promising.

The rookies look to continue their hot hitting Monday night, when the Diamondbacks open a four-game series with the San Diego Padres.

Davidson, a first-round pick in the 2009 draft, has been superb for Arizona (79-76) over his last eight games, going 8 for 18 (.444) with three homers, three doubles and eight RBIs.

The 22-year-old third baseman also hit three-run homers in each of the last two games, as the Diamondbacks took two of three at Colorado, including Sunday's 13-9 victory. A homer Monday would make him the first Arizona rookie to do it in three straight contests.

Davidson totaled 60 homers and 256 RBIs over his last three seasons in the minors.

"I'm trying to keep it the same game that it was in the minor leagues and no matter what the situation is take the same approach," said Davidson, who was called up from Triple-A Reno when rosters expanded this month.

Owings is also 22, and producing at the plate. The shortstop, who was recalled from Reno with Davidson on Sept. 3, has five hits with three doubles, three RBIs and two runs over the past two games. That surge increased his average 75 points to .316.

"I've felt like I've been seeing the ball pretty well since I've been up here," Owings said.

Brandon McCarthy (5-9, 4.57 ERA) is expected to get the ball, and he's trying to win a third straight start against the Padres (72-83).

Since he spent his first seven seasons in the AL, the right-hander hadn't faced San Diego until this year and he's won both meetings while allowing two runs in 14 innings. An impressive start against the Padres on Aug. 26, began a stretch in which he's gone 3-1 with a 2.50 ERA in five starts.

He earned a 9-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, allowing three runs in six-plus innings.

The Padres are scheduled to send Eric Stults (9-13, 4.02) to the mound, as he tries to win back-to-back starts for the first time in two months.

The left-hander allowed two runs with five strikeouts in five innings of a 5-2 win at Pittsburgh on Tuesday. He had been 0-6 with a 5.40 ERA over his 10 previous outings following back-to-back victories at home versus Colorado and San Francisco.

"It's definitely good to get one," Stults said Tuesday. "It's one of those things that maybe it'll be a little confidence boost."

Stults has dropped two of three starts to Arizona behind a 4.43 ERA.

San Diego has won five of six home meetings with the Diamondbacks this year, including a three-game series sweep from June 14-16.

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