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Ex-Dodger Stults leads Padres past Dodgers

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[August 21, 2014]  LOS ANGELES -- The road hasn't been friendly for left-hander Eric Stults, but he made himself at home Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.

Stults and three relievers combined on a six-hitter, and the San Diego Padres beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1.

San Diego (59-66) defeated Los Angeles (71-57) for only the fourth time in the past 12 meetings and just the second time in the past eight contests. Stults is now 2-9 in 15 road starts this season.

"I enjoy pitching here," said Stults, who played for the Dodgers from 2006-09. "I enjoyed my time with the Dodgers, but I'm a Padre now. Coming back here and pitching, there's a little extra when you pitch against your old team. You want to do well."

The Padres, who had dropped three in a row to Los Angeles, outhit the Dodgers 11-6. Stults, shortstop Alexi Amarista and third baseman Yangervis Solarte each drove in a run as San Diego ended a two-game slide. Amarista, left fielder Seth Smith and right fielder Rymer Liriano recorded two hits apiece.

Stults (6-13) worked an effective five innings, allowing a run on four hits with five strikeouts and a walk. Stults has limited the opposition to three or fewer earned runs in 10 of his past 11 starts since June 17. He also has won three of his last four starts.

The art of deception played in Stults' favor.

"I felt like we've had good games against him and then some games not as good," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He's going to play on the edges, he's going to change speeds, and you've got to be able to stay with him and stay in the middle of the field. He's going to be on both sides of the plate, he's going to keep using that changeup, back-door cutter, change speeds with the curveball, he's going to be kind of a kitchen-sink guy.

"Again, there's been games I've felt pretty good with the approach, but tonight we didn't do a whole lot with him."

Padres manager Bud Black said some adjustments in Stults' delivery changed the pitcher's fortunes.

"He made a conscious effort to tweak his delivery a little bit, especially out of the windup, and a little minor adjustment out of the stretch," Black said. "I think that's been the main thing over the last month and a half.

"The won-lost record sort of skidded a little bit, and he's been of victim of, I think, the second-least run support. He's a guy who is a strike-thrower who doesn't beat himself. Things are starting to turn his way, just like a lot of guys on our club."

San Diego relievers Blaine Boyer and Dale Thayer combined for three scoreless innings before Kevin Quackenbush pitched the ninth for his first save. Quackenbush stepped for closer Joaquin Benoit, who is nursing an irritated shoulder.

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Dodgers starter Roberto Hernandez gave up four runs (three earned) and eight hits in five innings. He struck out two and walked two. Hernandez (7-9) was making his second start for the Dodgers after being acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies on Aug. 7.

Command issues burdened Hernandez for much of his outing.

"He kept battling, but with Roberto, it's a matter of him staying down in the zone," Mattingly said. "It's not a lot of tricks to it, trying to get ground balls, and tonight he was behind in a lot of counts."

Los Angeles committed three errors in the game to one for San Diego.

Three runs in the second inning boosted the Padres to an early lead. Singles by Amarista, who went 2-for-3, and Stults plated two runs, while an error by left fielder Scott Van Slyke allowed Liriano to score another.

A sacrifice fly in the third inning by right fielder Matt Kemp cut the Dodgers' deficit to 3-1.

In the fourth inning, Solarte's sacrifice fly gave San Diego a 4-1 cushion. That would be more than enough.

Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon recorded his major-league-leading 57th steal in the eighth inning.

NOTES: The Dodgers pushed back the start of RHP Zack Greinke, who was slated to pitch Thursday, until Saturday to allow him a few extra days to rest his sore right elbow. LHP Clayton Kershaw (14-3, 1.86 ERA) will start Thursday instead. Kershaw will face Padres RHP Tyson Ross (11-11, 2.70 ERA) in the series finale. RHP Dan Haren will start Friday as scheduled against the New York Mets. ... The Padres activated OF Cameron Maybin from the restricted list and optioned INF Jace Peterson to Triple-A El Paso. Maybin served a 25-game suspension after testing positive for amphetamines. San Diego also designated LHP Bobby LaFromboise for assignment. ... The attendance was 46,641.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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