Padres beat Giants in home opener

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SAN DIEGO -- San Diego native Aaron Harang enjoyed a happy homecoming.

In his first start with the Padres, the Patrick Henry High School graduate pitched six innings to lead the Padres (3-1) to a 3-1 win over the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants in the Padres' home opener at Petco Park in front of a sold out crowd of 43,146.

"It was a cool experience," Harang said. "The fans were into it from the minute I went out there to start stretching. You could tell there was an aura over the stands that they were excited to be here and they were ready for the opener."

After giving up his only run in the first inning, Harang settled in and allowed six hits and struck out six to earn his first victory with the team he rooted for while growing up in Allied Gardens.

The turning point came in the third inning. Trailing 1-0 in the top half, Harang gave up a lead-off double to Miguel Tejada, followed by a single to pitcher Madison Bumgarner.

Harang then struck out Andres Torres and Freddy Sanchez, but walked Aubrey Huff to load the bases. Facing clean-up hitter, and 2010 National League rookie of the year Buster Posey, Harang went to 3-2 in the count before getting Posey to ground back to the mound and wiggle out of the jam.

"He did a really good job changing speeds and keeping them off balance," Padres' manager Bud Black said. "And he worked his way out of two critical jams at critical parts of the game."

In the bottom of the inning, the Padres bats came alive and they manufactured some runs off Bumgarner.

Nick Hundley, who came into the game with a .455 batting average, led off with a single. Harang bunted him over, Jason Bartlett followed with a walk and Orlando Hudson singled to load the bases.

Jorge Cantu brought home Hundley with a sacrifice fly and after a walk to Ryan Ludwick, Chase Headley worked another walk to score Bartlett.

Chris Denoria was the eighth batter to come to the plate, and he beat out a slow roller to the pitcher for an infield single which scored the third run of the inning.

Hundley, hitting out of the eighth spot, finished with three of the Padres' seven hits. Denorfia had two hits and reached base three times, and rookie Cedric Hunter picked up his first major league hit with a pinch single in the sixth inning.

Heath Bell worked a perfect ninth inning to earn his second save of the season for the Padres who improved to 22-21 in home openers, including 6-2 at Petco Park.

The Giants fell to 1-4 to start the season.

As part of the Opening Day festivities, several former Padres were introduced to celebrate the 75th season of baseball in San Diego. Among the former Padres were Randy Jones, Gary Templeton, Mark Loretta and Trevor Hoffman. Hoffman, Major League Baseball's all-time leader in saves with 601, came out from the bullpen to his signature song "Hells Bells" and threw out a ceremonial first pitch - caught by his brother, and third base coach, Glenn.

Hoffman now works in the Padres front office and said he was very comfortable with his decision to retire after spending 16 seasons with Padres and his final two with the Milwaukee Brewers. He said his role has not been completely defined with the Padres, but he planned to work with some minor league players throughout the season.

Before the game, Padres starter Mat Latos met with the media and said he felt good after throwing to Minor Leaguers in a simulated game on Monday. The Padres plan to have him throw two bullpen sessions this week, and if all goes well, he could start against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night at Petco Park.

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