The San Diego Padres were outplayed throughout their season-opening series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, except when Clayton Richard badly outpitched Aaron Harang.
Those pitchers meet again to open a weekend series Friday night, when the Padres hope Richard continues his mastery of Los Angeles as they seek to end their six-game Dodger Stadium losing streak.
The Dodgers (6-1) won three of four against the Padres (2-5) in San Diego to start the season, but fell 8-4 in Sunday's series finale. Richard (1-0, 0.00 ERA) gave up just two unearned runs - both on a homer by Matt Kemp - and two hits without issuing a walk in seven innings.
"You know the middle of their order is extremely talented, so you don't want to fall behind those guys," said the San Diego left-hander, who improved to 5-1 with a 2.18 ERA in eight career starts against Los Angeles.
Harang (0-1, 6.23), meanwhile, lost his Dodgers debut after he led his hometown Padres with 14 victories in 2011. San Diego declined to re-sign him, and Los Angeles gave him a two-year deal worth $12 million.
The veteran right-hander allowed four runs and issued five walks in 4 1-3 innings while falling to 0-4 with a 5.91 ERA in his last five starts against San Diego, four of those coming with Cincinnati. Harang only had one start that short for the Padres a season ago.
"There was a little anxiety being able to come here and pitch, but I always felt I was pitching just tense out there," Harang said. "When you do that, you're going to scuffle. And when you do stuff wrong and miss location and you're up and down in the zone, one thing led to another. I was pressing too much."
The Dodgers will be counting on their right-handed hitters to trouble Richard, with Kemp 7 for 21 against him and Juan Uribe 9 for 21 lifetime. Lefty-swinging Andre Ethier is 2 for 19 and James Loney 3 for 15, and that duo combined for six hitless at-bats Sunday.
Kemp turned in a torrid series in San Diego, going 7 for 17 with eight RBIs. Ethier also had eight RBIs in those four games.
It was a rough series for Padres third baseman Chase Headley, who was 0 for 12 before his grand slam in the eighth inning Sunday off Scott Elbert. That slam accounted for four of Headley's club-high five RBIs on the season. He's 4 for 23 in 2012.
San Diego manager Bud Black may want to consider giving Jeremy Hermida his first start since the reserve outfielder is 7 for 15 against Harang.
Los Angeles bounced back from Sunday's defeat to sweep a three-game set with Pittsburgh, posting a 1.33 ERA with 27 strikeouts and two walks. Chris Capuano won his Dodgers home debut Thursday by striking out seven and yielding two runs over 5 1-3 innings of a 3-2 victory.
San Diego travels north up Interstate 5 after losing two of three in a low-scoring home series with Arizona, which scored eight of the set's 13 runs. Padres starters posted a 2.16 ERA but had no decisions.
The Dodgers have won 13 of 16 overall against the Padres, including their six-game run at home.