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Stults fires two-hitter for Padres

The SportsXchange

SAN DIEGO -- With Eric Stults at his best, the San Diego Padres continued their winning ways at home.

Stults pitched a complete-game two-hitter, leading the Padres to a 2-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night before 23,364 fans at Petco Park.

Logan Forsythe's two-run single with two outs in the sixth inning off Trevor Cahill was the difference, but the win wouldn't have been possible had it not been for Stults' dominance.

"It was a masterful performance," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He was outstanding. Mix of pitches. Again, I say it every start, the fastball that hits 90 and the slow curve that gets into the low 60s. Just the wide range of velocities keeps the hitters off balance (and) disrupts their timing."

Stults said it took an inning for him to develop a rhythm.

"In the first inning, I didn't feel like I had a good feel for my pitches," said the 33-year-old left-hander, who pitched his third career complete game. "I left the ball up to (Gerardo) Parra to start the game off. So a leadoff double (is) something you don't want to happen. But I felt like I was able to work through what I would say is wildness for me. As the game went on, my delivery got much better."

The win allowed the Padres (33-34) to close within four games of the first-place Diamondbacks (37-30) in the National League West.

The Padres, winners of their last four, are 19-7 in their last 26 games at Petco Park, which is the best home record in the NL and second best in the majors. They are 28-19 since starting the season 5-15.

After Stults (6-5) gave up a leadoff double to Parra and a walk to Paul Goldschmidt in the first, he retired the next 11 batters.

Miguel Montero reached on an error by first baseman Kyle Blanks in the fourth for Arizona, but Stults, who struck out three, sat down the next 14 hitters before giving up a single to Willie Bloomquist with one out in the ninth.

Stults tied a club record for assists with six held by Randy Jones (set July 1, 1979, against the Houston Astros) in a nine-inning game. It also was the most by a major league pitcher since Carl Pavano had six on Aug. 22, 2011, as a member of the Minnesota Twins.

The off-speed pitches killed the Diamondbacks, said bench coach Alan Trammell, who was the acting manager with Kirk Gibson serving a one-game suspension for his role in Tuesday's bench-clearing brawl with the Dodgers.

"That's what he does," Trammell said of Stults. "He uses the hitters' energy against them. Like anybody who's not a hard thrower, that's what they do."

Cahill was cruising with a shutout through five innings before the Padres loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth on a walk to Alexi Amarista, Chase Headley getting hit by a pitch and Carlos Quentin beating out an infield single.

Cahill (3-8) struck out Kyle Blanks and Will Venable before giving up Forsythe's single to left center, scoring Amarista and Headley, for the winner.

"It's tough. We're in first place and you want to have an opportunity to get a bigger lead," Cahill said. "And I was just one pitch away."

Cahill, who was born in nearby Oceanside and a former standout at Vista High in north San Diego County, tied his career best of 10 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Cahill, who was 1-0 with a 0.60 ERA with 12 consecutive scoreless innings in two previous starts at Petco, allowed two runs, five hits with three walks and a hit batter.

A sacrifice fly by Cody Ross, scoring Parra, gave the Diamondbacks a 1-0 lead with two outs in the first but that would be all the runs they could muster.

NOTES: Padres RHP Huston Street was activated from the 15-day disabled list. Street, who went on the DL June 1 (retroactive to May 30), missed 12 games with a left calf strain. In addition, the Padres optioned LHP Tommy Layne and OF Jaff Decker to Triple-A Tucson. ... INF Pedro Ciriaco was obtained by the Padres from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for a player to be named. Ciriaco, 27, hit .216 (11-for-51) with a home run, two doubles, a triple, four RBIs and four runs in 28 games for the Red Sox this season. Ciriaco was designated for assignment by the Red Sox on June 10. The Padres designated infielder James Darnell for assignment. ... Former Padres pitcher Sterling Hitchcock threw out the first pitch as the Padres celebrated the 15th anniversary of the 1998 club that won the National League pennant but lost the World Series to the Yankees.
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