Once considered among the toughest places to play for the Padres -- they trail in the all-time series in Phoenix, 83-42 -- San Diego has now won its last five games in Arizona. Overall, the Padres are 6-4 against the D-backs this season, having outscored them, 42-32, in those games.
"Well, prior to that we lost five in a row and prior to that we won some games, too," Padres manager Bud Black said. "So let's try to alleviate the three- or four-game losing streaks and keep the winning streaks going. We have been playing better since the All-Star break and a little farther back, it has been good baseball."
The Padres have outscored the D-backs, 28-13, in four games at Chase Field this season, but it was the pitcher, not the hitters, who proved to be the difference Friday.
Stults allowed three hits in seven strong innings. He struck out four batters and only walked one in the 103-pitch outing.
"The game tonight was how he pitched, it really was," 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. They hit a number of balls hard and were in the right spots to catch them."
Stults also racked up a career-high three RBIs Friday, after having a total of four in his career entering the game. He downplayed the hits during the postgame interview.
"I think it was just luck most of the time," Stults said. "I just go up there trying to put the barrel on the ball and I was able to get a couple of hits, and it was big because we had runners on base. Tonight was a career-night hitting and I'll definitely take it. We were able to score enough runs."
Stults' first hit of the game was two-run single in the second inning off D-backs starter Patrick Corbin to give the Padres an early 2-0 lead.
He was not done.
After Chris Denorfia homered in the third, Cameron Maybin scored the Padres' fourth run in the fourth inning when he came home on a double by Stults.
"I left two fastballs up and didn't locate. 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," Corbin said. "That's not what I want to do. I fell behind, I was trying to get over, and I paid for it."
Everth Cabrera doubled in the fifth, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Stults and motored home on Denorfia's sacrifice fly for the 5-0 lead.
"Tonight, I was able to establish the bottom part of the zone and that was key," Stults said. "[Catcher Yasmani Grandal] did a good job of mixing pitches up. I don't think I shook him a whole lot. We were able to keep them off balance, which was great, and get some quick outs in the middle innings."
The D-backs have still won six of their last 10 games, but they failed to make up any ground in the NL West standings.
"We didn't swing the bats very well. [Stults] had very good location," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He mixed it up well, we beat him up the last time we saw him and he made some adjustments. He had better location and changed up his pitches. Then the balls we did hit hard, they were there."