(Sports Network) - Joe Saunders hopes to build off a solid start when he leads the Arizona Diamondbacks into this afternoon's finale of a three-game series versus the NL West-leading San Diego Padres at Chase Field.
Saunders, who was acquired from the LA Angels of Anaheim in the deal that sent Dan Haren to the west coast, went the distance in a 6-1 win over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday. He allowed one run and five hits with five strikeouts after tossing seven innings of two-run ball in his Arizona debut at Philadelphia on July 29.
The left-hander went 6-10 in 20 starts with the Angels before the trade and will face San Diego for just the second time in his career. In a 9-1 victory over the Padres on June 13 last season, Saunders was reached for just one run and seven hits through 8 1/3 innings.
Arizona hopes that Saunders will be on point when it tries for a three-game sweep of the Padres today. After taking Friday's series opener by a 2-1 score, the D'Backs recorded a 6-5 triumph last night thanks to a four-run fourth inning and a solo homer by Chris Young in the bottom of the ninth. Adam LaRoche and John Hester both had RBI singles in the fourth, while Rusty Ryal stroked a run-scoring double in the same frame.
Young finished with three hits, including two homers, for the Diamondbacks, who have won three in a row and retired former star Luis Gonzalez's jersey.
"It was a great baseball game," Young said on the team's site. "The big night for Gonzo, I think it went perfect. Pretty much the script. You have 50,000 fans in the stands, and honestly it's easy to get the adrenaline flowing."
Rodrigo Lopez started for Arizona and gave up three runs in five innings for the no-decision. Aaron Heilman picked up the win despite allowing two runs in the top of the ninth inning.
D'Backs third baseman Mark Reynolds did not play yesterday and is still recovering from a concussion suffered after getting hit in the head with a pitch on August 4. He has 25 home runs and 69 RBI this season.
San Diego has been slumping a bit lately and remained one game ahead of San Francisco for the NL West lead after the Giants also lost on Saturday.
Luke Gregerson was saddled with the loss for allowing Young's game-winning homer and starter Clayton Richard failed in his bid for a 10th win after yielding five runs and five hits over 3 2/3 innings.
"They got on a little bit of a roll and took advantage of anything over the plate, and they squared it up," Richard said on San Diego's official site.
Adrian Gonzalez homered and finished with three hits, while Jerry Hairston Jr. also went deep for the Padres, who have dropped two in a row and four of their last five contests. Both players homered to tie it in the ninth before Gregerson served up the game-winner to Young.
Padres young starter Mat Latos will try to get himself and the team back into the win column when he gets the nod Sunday. Latos was 6-0 with a 1.40 earned run average in eight starts -- all San Diego wins -- before losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers by a 2-1 score on Tuesday.
Latos allowed just two runs in six innings with six K's, but suffered the loss to fall to 11-5 in 20 starts to go along with a 2.47 ERA this season. The righty, who is 7-3 in 12 road starts in 2010, has never faced Arizona.
The Padres had won six in a row against Arizona before Friday's loss and are 7-4 in the 2010 season series. On the flip side, they have lost in nine of their last 11 trips to the Valley of the Sun.