LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers know what Eric Stults can do with his arm.
Turns out, they're pretty familiar with what the San Diego Padres left-hander can do with his bat, too.
The former Dodgers pitcher smacked an early three-run home run Monday, and he pitched six innings of three-run ball at Dodger Stadium. The Padres broke the game open with three late runs to take a 6-3 win in the first matchup between the teams since the Carlos Quentin-Zack Greinke brawl.
The last time the teams met, tempers flared Thursday when Quentin charged the mound after being hit by a Greinke pitch. In the ensuing skirmish, Greinke suffered a broken collarbone that will sideline him at least eight weeks, so the Dodgers entered Monday's game with ears perked and blood pressure raised.
Quentin was suspended eight games for his role in the melee, so he was unavailable Monday.
When Stults came up against Chad Billingsley in the second inning -- after Billingsley struck out Andre Ethier to end a bases-loaded, first-inning threat -- the Padres pitcher made everyone forget the pregame hostilities.
"The complete ballplayer," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "The guys were commenting after he hit the home run that he was doing that in batting practice. He carried batting practice into the game; you don't see that often. He can swing the bat, but tonight, he made some pitches when he needed to to get out of a few jams."
The Padres broke open a 3-3 tie with a two-run seventh inning, benefitting from Dodgers reliever Ronnie Belisario's wildness. Belisario (0-2) walked Chris Denorfia with the bases loaded for the go-ahead run, then induced a no-out, bases-loaded double play by Yonder Alonso that scored pinch runner Jesus Guzman.
San Diego added an insurance run in the top of the ninth when Kyle Blanks hit a sacrifice fly to score Everth Cabrera.
"Everyone did their job," Blanks said. "Everyone fought hard, everyone battled. Those are the types of things that win you games, these types of games. Those little runs just kinda make that light for the other team seem dimmer."
Los Angeles squandered a prime scoring opportunity in the bottom of the eighth inning. Pinch hitter Skip Schumaker botched a squeeze bunt attempt with runners on second and third, and A.J. Ellis was caught at home trying to cut the San Diego lead to one.
The Dodgers were stuck playing catch-up all game after Stults' early blast.
After Alexi Amarista walked with one out in the second and Cameron Maybin singled two batters later, Stults drilled a Billingsley pitch to deep center field for his first major league home run.
"It felt good," said Stults, who pitched for the Dodgers from 2006-09. "Obviously, we've been struggling a bit, so anything to help the team is a big thing. It feels good to put the bat on it."
Added Los Angeles catcher Ellis: "All of us know Eric Stults and what he can do offensively, playing with him in the minors and the big leagues. Guy's a good hitter. You have to treat him like a major league hitter. Treat him like a seven-hole hitter in the big leagues, and he did what seven-hole hitters in the big leagues do."
Los Angeles chipped away with single runs in consecutive innings. Adrian Gonzalez drove in Carl Crawford in the third, Crawford singled home Luis Cruz in the fourth, and Ellis brought in Matt Kemp in the fifth.
Stults (2-1) allowed nine hits and one walk while striking out four. Brad Brach and Luke Gregerson each contributed a shutout inning, and Huston Street pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his second save.
Billingsley gave up three runs in six innings.
NOTES: Los Angeles won two of three games in San Diego last week. After dropping the opener 9-3, when San Diego produced a five-run, eighth-inning rally, the Dodgers won back-to-back one-run games. ... Los Angeles won the season series with San Diego 11-7 last year. ... Billingsley has more wins against the Padres (13) than against any other team. ... The Los Angeles pitching staff is off to a brilliant start, ranking third in the major leagues in team ERA and batting average against and leading the majors in strikeout-to-walk ratio and quality starts. ... Gonzalez, a former Padres star, ranks second in the National League with 19 hits. He's hitting .396 after going 1-for-4. ... All players wore the No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day, and Robinson's teammate Don Newcombe was in attendance. "It's special for sure," Gonzalez said. "You honor him in that way, a lot of guys honor him by wearing their pants the way Jackie wore them."