Braves-Padres Preview

Aaron Harang struggled the last few seasons, but returning to

his hometown appears to have revitalized him.

Harang will try for his NL-leading fifth win Tuesday night as

his San Diego Padres continue their series against the visiting

Atlanta Braves.

After going 18-38 over the past three seasons with Cincinnati

and getting left off the Reds’ playoff roster in 2010, Harang (4-0,

1.88 ERA) has gotten off to an impressive start with the Padres

(9-14).

Harang has won each of his starts and is tied for second in the

majors in victories, behind only the Los Angeles Angels’ Jered

Weaver. He has struck out 21 in 24 innings.

The right-hander gave up two runs and nine hits in six innings

of a 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.

“I’m just trying to help us win,” said Harang, who has been

battling the flu. “I’m pitching the best I can to keep us in

games.”

Harang is 1-2 with a 3.67 ERA in seven starts against the

Braves. He faced them once last season, yielding four runs in six

innings of the Reds’ 5-4 defeat May 19, but he didn’t get the

loss.

Dan Uggla is 9 for 19 (.474) with four doubles and two home runs

against Harang, while Brian McCann is 8 for 17 (.471) with three

doubles and two homers.

Harang will look to help the Padres record back-to-back wins for

the first time since opening the season 2-0. Ryan Ludwick’s second

homer of the night gave San Diego a 5-3 win in 13 innings in

Monday’s series opener.

“When I hit it, I didn’t honestly know if it would get out,”

Ludwick said. “I’m just glad to win. Early this year we’ve had some

tough losses, and hopefully this turns it around.”

Nick Hundley, who tied the game with an RBI double in the

seventh, walked with one out in the 13th before Ludwick’s homer.

San Diego snapped a four-game skid, during which it had scored

three runs.

“Hopefully it creates momentum but we have to come out tomorrow

again and play as consistent a game as we did today,” manager Bud

Black said.

The Braves (11-13) were looking to win their fourth straight,

but relievers Eric O’Flaherty and Scott Linebrink couldn’t hold the

lead for Derek Lowe. Atlanta’s bullpen has pitched 10 1-3 innings

the last two games, giving up seven runs.

Monday was the third time in five games the team went to extra

innings.

“I don’t know if my gut can take another extra-inning game,”

manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

With a strained bullpen, the Braves will hand the ball to Jair

Jurrjens (1-0, 0.69), who has been sharp in two starts since a

stint on the disabled list with a strained oblique.

After giving up two hits in seven scoreless innings against the

New York Mets on April 16, Jurrjens allowed one run – on a solo

homer – over six innings of a 5-3, 12-inning loss to the Los

Angeles Dodgers on Thursday.

The right-hander is 2-1 with a 4.13 ERA in four starts against

the Padres. He faced them twice last year, giving up eight runs in

3 1-3 innings in a 17-2 loss at Petco Park on April 12, 2010.