The Mets rallied off the Padres' bullpen to take the first two games of last week's meeting before San Diego countered with back-to-back wins to close the set. Aaron Harang got the best of New York's R.A. Dickey in Wednesday's matchup to get the Padres their first win of the series and the two will go at it again tonight.
Harang earned his second straight win despite giving up 10 hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander limited the damage to a pair of runs in what was a frustrating night for the Mets offense.
"There were a lot of parts of this game (that didn't go right)," said Mets manager Terry Collins. "We had 15 hits, four walks, and when you look up and you score only five runs, it is not a good night."
The 36-year-old Harang is 4-1 in his last five starts despite a 6.51 earned run average in that time. His season ERA has gone from 3.19 to 3.95 over that span, but Harang is 11-3 on the season and has lost just once in his last 14 starts.
Harang has split six career decisions against the Mets with a 5.88 ERA.
The 36-year-old Dickey suffered his third straight loss even though he has given up a respectable eight earned runs over 19 innings. He was touched for five runs -- three earned -- over six innings in the home loss, falling to 5-11 with a 3.75 ERA in 25 games after his first career meeting with the Padres.
The right-handed knuckleballer will be glad to get away from Citi Field, where he is just 1-8 this season. In 12 road games, Dickey is 4-3 with a 3.26 ERA.
San Diego returns home following a 6-4 homestand that ended with Sunday's 7-3 victory over Cincinnati. Wade LeBlanc helped the Padres avoid a three-game sweep by holding the Reds to three runs on two hits and four walks over six innings.
"I like the way he threw the ball," Padres manager Bud Black said on his team's website. "He got some outs with his changeup, he threw the cutter on both sides -- he was effective. The ball-strike ratio is not where we want it to be, but I thought he deserved that win."
James Darnell had two hits and drove in two runs, while Orlando Hudson added an RBI triple. Hudson went 10-for-29 and scored 11 runs on the road trip.
Unlike San Diego, New York was unable to avoid getting swept in three games when it was defeated, 5-3, by Arizona on Sunday. The setback was the Mets' fifth straight.
Chris Capuano allowed four runs on nine hits over six innings to suffer the loss. He struck out six and did not issue a walk.
"He makes good pitches and then when he makes a mistake, he gets hit," said Collins.