Slowly but surely Washington righty Dan Haren is beginning to find his way. The right-hander takes the ball on Sunday when the Nationals conclude a four-game set at Petco Park.
Haren had a three-start winning streak stopped on Tuesday in Los Angeles, as the Dodgers reached him for two runs and four hits in seven innings of the Nats' 2-0 loss to Clayton Kershaw. He also struck out four batters without issuing a walk and fell to 4-4 on the year to go along with a 4.76 ERA.
"My guy pitched just as good as he did. Dan Haren pitched a heck of a ballgame," Washington manager Davey Johnson said.
Haren has faced the Padres 15 times (14 starts) and is 5-3 with a 3.39 ERA against them.
Getting the call for the Padres on Sunday will be righty Andrew Cashner, who is 2-2 with a 2.84 ERA. Cashner did not get a decision on Tuesday in Baltimore, but pitched well, as he allowed two runs (1 earned) and five hits in 7 1/3 frames of a 3-2 win.
"I felt my change was really good tonight," Cashner said.
This will be Cashner's first start versus Washington, but has faced them five times out of the bullpen and is 1-0 against without allowing a run in 5 2/3 innings.
After losing the first two games of this set San Diego got itself back into the win column on Saturday, as Everth Cabrera hit the go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning and Eric Stults outlasted Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann in the Padres' 2-1 triumph.
Stults (4-3) tossed eight stellar frames, allowing just one run and four hits, while striking out five in the win. Yonder Alonso added a homer in the victory.
"We were, again, not real patient," Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche said. "He (Stults) was throwing that changeup down and away, slow curveball, slider, spotting the heater."
Steve Lombardozzi tied the game in the sixth with an RBI single for the Nationals. Zimmermann (7-2) lasted eight innings, allowing seven hits and two runs -- one earned -- and fanned six, though it was his error in the eighth that moved the eventual winning run into scoring position..
Washington was without outfielder Bryce Harper, who is apparently still feeling the effects of running into an outfield wall earlier in the week. He missed Saturday's game with a sore knee and is questionable for Sunday's finale.
"Everything else feels pretty good," said Harper, who leads the Nationals with 11 homers and 22 RBI. "The knee was barking. It's pretty swollen. I'm not going to take a chance on it. I'll get some treatment on it and see if I can go (Sunday)."
The Nationals are just 1-5 without Harper in the lineup this season.
San Diego lost three of five matchups with Washington last season and have dropped eight of the previous 11 overall meetings between the clubs.