SAN DIEGO – Aaron Harang couldn't have asked for a better debut with his hometown San Diego Padres.
Harang threw six strong innings while getting out of a few jams, and the Padres won their home opener 3-1 Tuesday against the skidding San Francisco Giants.
The big right-hander said he felt like he did before struggling through the last three seasons with various injuries while with Cincinnati. Plus, the performance came in front of several family members and friends.
"Knowing that they were here and rooting me on, I'm sure they were pretty excited, too, because this is how I threw before," Harang said. "Hopefully I can keep this rolling."
The defending World Series champion Giants, who eliminated the Padres from playoff contention on the last day of the 2010 season, have lost four of five.
Nick Hundley had three hits for the Padres, who returned home after taking two of three in St. Louis.
Harang (1-0) held the Giants to one run on six hits, struck out six and walked two. He joined the Padres as a free agent in the offseason after spending 7½ seasons with Cincinnati, where he made five straight opening day starts. Heath Bell pitched a perfect ninth for his second save in as many chances.
The Giants got a quick run when Andres Torres opened the game with a single, stole second and scored on Aubrey Huff's grounder for the second out.
Harang got in trouble in the third when he loaded the bases on Miguel Tejada's leadoff double, a single by starter Madison Bumgarner and Huff's two-out walk. He got out of it when Buster Posey hit a one-hopper back to the mound.
Harang threw a fastball down and away to Posey. "It was a good pitch for him to hit into the ground and he just happened to hit it right back to me," Harang said.
"He made the best pitches of the day when he was in trouble. That says a lot about his makeup and his character," said Hundley, the catcher.
"Buster was frustrated there," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "One pitch could have been a run. But we have to do a better job of keeping the line moving. Right now we are not getting a lot of timely hits on this trip. That's what it's going to take to win games."
The Padres surged ahead 3-1 when they batted around in the bottom of the inning. Jorge Cantu hit a sacrifice fly, Chase Headley drew a bases-loaded walk and another run came in on Chris Denorfia's dribbler toward the mound that Bumgarner lost the handle on. It was scored an infield single.
"I threw some good pitches and they put together some good swings," Bumgarner said. "Their hitters did a fantastic job. Give them some credit."
Harang played at Patrick Henry High and then San Diego State. He said one of the highlights Tuesday was when recently retired closer Trevor Hoffman jogged in from the bullpen accompanied by AC/D.C.'s "Hells Bells" and threw out the ceremonial first pitch to brother Glenn, the Padres' third base coach.
Harang remembers watching Hoffman pitch at the Padres' former home, Qualcomm Stadium.
"They did that ceremony for Trevor and that gave me goosebumps," Harang said. "That was definitely a treat to see. I'm excited with how things are going."
Bumgarner (0-1) was pulled after allowing Hundley's leadoff double in the fourth. He gave up three runs on five hits, walked three and struck out two.
After playing a messy series in the field in Los Angeles, the Giants had one defensive gaffe, but it didn't cost them. After Hundley doubled leading off the fourth, he was caught in a rundown when reliever Guillermo Mota gloved Jason Bartlett's comebacker and threw to second. Hundley, though, was able to elude the tag of Pablo Sandoval and was safe at third, giving the Padres runners on the corners with one out. They were stranded when Mota retired the next two batters.
NOTES: San Francisco closer Brian Wilson, who's on the DL with a strained muscle in his left side, played catch. Bochy said the Giants are leaning toward activating Wilson. ... Padres skipper Bud Black said ace Mat Latos, on the DL with a sore right shoulder, was fine after Monday's simulated game. Latos is scheduled to throw two bullpens this week and Black said there's a good chance he'll be back in the rotation for a series against Cincinnati that starts Monday night. ... Cedric Hunter, pinch-hitting for Harang in the sixth inning, singled to center for his first big league hit.