"We didn't swing the bats very well tonight," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "[Stults] had very good location. He mixed it up well and he made some adjustments. He had better location and changed up his pitches. Then the balls we did hit hard, they were there."
The last time Stults pitched against the D-backs, the 32-year-old served up three home runs and allowed six runs. This time around, however, the southpaw had his way with Arizona, scattering just three hits throughout his outing.
"The game tonight was how he pitched, it really was," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He had command of all four of his pitches and he changed speeds on his fastball like he does. He had the Diamondbacks off balance and was moving the ball in and out."
With the loss, the D-backs moved to 4-8 in their last 12 home games following their eight-game winning streak from July 6-24.
The defeat also took a toll on the club's bullpen, as starter Patrick Corbin lasted just four innings, allowing four runs on nine hits, taking his first loss since being called up on Aug. 1 from Triple-A Reno. Over the rookie's past two starts, Corbin has given up a combined eight runs on 16 hits.
"Just off a little bit, I wasn't locating as much as I was before. I left some balls up and paid for it," Corbin said. "I was a little surprised to not go out there [in the fifth inning]. I thought I might go back, it's frustrating. I just didn't have my best stuff today."
Gibson removed his starter after throwing just 70 pitches, opting to go to his bullpen and long reliever Brad Bergesen to stop the bleeding.
"He just didn't have very good stuff, he wasn't locating well, it was rough," Gibson said of Corbin. "I didn't think he could hold them where they were."
While the pitching staff surrendered double-digit hits for the third time this week, the offense only put one runner in scoring position all night. Chris Young was the sole bright spot for the D-backs, collecting two hits and a stolen base.
"Every one of us hit some balls hard, but they just played good defense, they had good shifts," Young said. "Then [Stults] was able to stay off the barrel. He pitched well. You'd like to find a way to make adjustments but we weren't able to make them. It was quick inning after quick inning."
The Padres jumped on Corbin in the second inning when Stults drove home the first two runs of the game with a two-out, bases-loaded single up the middle. Chris Denorfia added a solo shot to right field an inning later to put his club ahead, 3-0.
While Stults continued to shut down the D-backs on the mound, his bat came up with another two-out hit in the fourth, this time plating Cameron Maybin with a double.
Both of the pitcher's hits came on fastballs from Corbin.
"I left two pitches up and didn't locate," Corbin said. "As a pitcher, you're just trying to put the bat on the ball, and both times he found a hole and got the ball through to drive in some runs. That's not what I want to do. I fell behind, I was trying to get over, and I paid for it."
The D-backs put their first two batters of the fifth on base but failed to capitalize on the opportunity. Meanwhile, the Padres tacked on another run in the seventh via a sacrifice fly off the bat of Denorfia for the 5-0 outcome.