LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15: Pitcher Eric Stults of the San Diego Padres celebrates in the dugout after hitting a three run home run in the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on April 15, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. All uniformed team members are wearing jersey number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
For two weeks the Padres have struggled, but you don't need me to tell you that. A 2-10 record is plenty of proof of just how badly things have gone.
"It seemed like the first 10 games or so we were just finding a way to lose every day," said OF Chris Denorfia. "Today we found a way to win."
It's too early to say the proverbial worm has turned, but right now Padres fans will take all the positive vibes they can get. The Padres beat the Dodgers 6-3 in Los Angeles before a sellout crowd on Jackie Robinson Day.
Denorfia drove in the winning run with a bases-loaded walk in the 7th inning. He fell behind Paco Rodriguez 0-2, but fouled off a few pitches to work the walk.
"You're almost like a rat in a corner," said Denorfia of being down two strikes. "You've really gotta battle."
The run came at a perfect time, because it made Eric Stults the winning pitcher. Stults threw six innings, giving up 3 runs on 9 hits. Stults also gave himself an early cushion with a 3-run homer to left-center off Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley. It was the first Major League HR for Stults, but he's no stranger to driving the ball over the fence.
"I hit a couple in the minor leagues, but it's been four or five years," said Stults, who had hit a couple of home runs in batting practice before the game. But, so do lots of pitchers. Seeing it carry over in to the game is a rare thing, indeed.
"You don't see that often," said Padres manager Bud Black. "You know, he can swing the bat. He really can."
"A lot of time people don't give pitchers any credit," said Stults. "Obviously we're not great hitters, but we do work on it. We take it personal to try to get better."
Stults now owns two of the Padres 3 wins in 2013. He's also tied for second on the team in home runs, and here's a really interesting little tid-bit.
He also had a pinch-hit appearance in the Padres' home opener, a win over the Dodgers. So, he's played in four games, with the Padres going 3-1. They're 0-7 when he doesn't see the field.
On Tuesday Jason Marquis takes the mound for the Padres against Chris Capuano, who is starting in place of the injured Zack Greinke. Which brings us to one more story line from Monday night.
This was the first time the Padres and Dodgers had played since last Thursday's brawl at PETCO Park. There was plenty of talk about retaliation, but not a single brushback pitch, not a single awkward stare, not a single cross word was uttered by anyone on either team.
"I think we've put this behind us," said Black. "I really do. I don't think there was anything brewing before this game. Let's hope that continues, and we just play ball. "