SAN DIEGO -- Perhaps it was the pink bats to promote breast cancer awareness on Mother's Day that helped the Padres' (14-20) offense break through and earn their first series win at home this season. But equally important to the 4-3 victory on Sunday over the D-Backs (15-18) was some work that was done with the glove.
Jorge Cantu hit a three-run home run in the first, and Aaron Harang returned to his winning form. But a stellar catch by center fielder Cameron Maybin may have been the game's most crucial play.
Protecting a 4-2 lead in the eighth, reliever Mike Adams, riding a streak of 15 scoreless innings since Opening Day, allowed a leadoff double to Justin Upton, who advanced to third on a single by Miguel Montero.
Former Padre Xavier Nady drove a ball deep to left-center that, had it fallen, would have scored two runs and tied the game. But Maybin raced to the warning track to make a sliding catch, allowing Upton to score but preventing further damage.
"It was a long run, but I got a good read and a good jump -- and fortunately, I was able to make the play," Maybin said. "Off the bat, I wasn't quite sure if I was going to be able to get there, but I covered a lot of ground."
"I kind of thought it might get in the gap," Adams said. "I saw Cam break on it, and I saw him making up ground fast. Once he got a little bit closer, I figured he would catch it."
Harang (5-2), who had dropped two straight starts after winning his first four of the season, tossed seven innings while yielding two runs, but stayed away from the home runs that had plagued him in his previous outings.
After serving up five homers in his last two starts, Harang settled down this time, allowing eight hits but only one for extra bases -- a double by Josh Wilson that brought home Arizona's first run. The 32-year-old right-hander struck out two batters and walked one.
"I was just rushing a little bit, kind of just pulling. My arm was down a little bit, so I was kind of pulling across my body instead of driving through the catcher," Harang said.
The San Diego native also had his mom in attendance, as Robin Harang was one of several players' mothers to throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game.
"It's a special day, you know. All these guys take it to heart," Harang said. "It means a lot to us. And to be able to get to pitch for the first time on Mother's Day -- and to get a win -- was pretty big."
Heath Bell recovered from a blown save on Friday night to collect his eighth save by retiring the side in the ninth. Maybin made a diving catch in that inning, too.
"When you make a play like that, the game swings," Black said. "There's no doubt about it. We've seen it over the years here, where runs are hard to come by. And when you prevent them like that, it has a way [of turning] out in your favor."
Stacked with right-handers against Arizona lefty Joe Saunders (0-4), and with many of the hitters sporting the pink bats used around the Majors on Mother's Day, the Padres' offense, which had suffered its eighth shutout of the season one night earlier, broke out almost immediately.
Chris Denorfia led off the game with a single, stole second base and reached third on an error, then trotted home when Jason Bartlett's booming double bounced off the left-field fence.
Cantu piled on later in the frame with his homer to left, which pushed the lead to 4-0.
"That was much needed," Black said. "It's good to see Jorge get that three-run bomb, jump out, and we made it hold up."
"I got a good pitch to hit, and I tried not to do too much," Cantu said. "It just kept carrying and went out of the ballpark."
That was the first time the club had scored as many as four runs in the first inning of a game since July 29, 2009, when they pushed across five in Cincinnati -- coincidentally against Harang.
"It's the first at-bat, so you feel good about yourself," Cantu said. "Fortunately, we hung in there and our pitching did what it is supposed to do, and that's putting zeroes up there. They have been amazing, and we're just trying to pick them up by hitting the ball hard. That's what we're trying to do every day out there."
Tim Powers is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.