Stults allowed hits to the first two batters he faced and runs in each of the first four innings as the D-backs rolled to a 10-0 victory over the Padres before a crowd of 22,279.
"I didn't give us a chance to win from the start," Stults said.
To be sure, this was nothing like the complete-game victory Stults (8-9) tossed against the D-backs on June 14, when he allowed one run on two hits and needed 104 pitches to get 27 outs.
Whereas that outing looked like a breeze, getting outs Friday proved to be more of a Herculean effort, with Stults needing 101 pitches to get 15 outs.
"He's tough, even when you know that changeup is coming, it's still hard as heck to hit. We just put some good at-bats together and kept battling," said D-backs catcher Wil Nieves.
"We just didn't want to try to do too much. The approach was to stay back, that's the only way you can hit him. He's a smart pitcher. He knows how to get guys out."
All told, Stults allowed five earned runs on 11 hits and had one walk and five strikeouts in five innings. Afterward, he noted how aggressive the D-backs were, especially early in counts. And, he said, it was not like they were hammering bad pitches all game.
"They had a lot of hits, but they had a lot of extra-base hits. I threw some bad ones, but they hit a lot of good pitches, too," Stults said. "Sometimes ... you have those nights where it doesn't matter what you throw."
It probably didn't help that the Padres needed to squeeze 3 2/3 innings from their bullpen Thursday during a 10-8 victory over the Brewers. Simply put, the Padres needed innings from Stults, good, bad or indifferent.
The D-backs (54-49) jumped on Stults right away, as A.J. Pollock singled and Aaron Hill knocked him in with an RBI double. Hill added another RBI double in the second inning before leaving the game with tightness in his right hamstring.
The runs kept coming after that. A throwing error by Padres catcher Nick Hundley made for a longer second inning than the Padres wanted. The D-backs finished with seven extra-base hits.
All told, the D-backs scored two runs in each of the first three innings followed by a single run in the fourth inning.
"They were being aggressive early," Stults said.
This was more than enough offensive backing for D-backs pitcher Randall Delgado (3-3), who mostly made quick work of the Padres (46-58) with a live fastball and a devastating changeup.
Delgado, who was obtained in the winter from the Braves in the Justin Upton deal, allowed just three hits in tossing a shutout. One of those hits, by Chris Denorfia, came in his final inning.
"The fastball-changeup combo was there," said Padres manager Bud Black. "We haven't seen him and I feel when you haven't seen a pitcher before, the advantage goes to the pitcher. He's got a very good delivery and he repeats it."
Delgado walked one and struck out three and got nine ground-ball outs. His 100th pitch of the game, to Yonder Alonso with two outs in the ninth inning, results in a rocket up the middle -- right into the glove of shortstop Didi Gregorius, who was shading Alonso up the middle.
It was, really, a D-backs kind of night.
Right fielder Gerardo Parra made a leaping catch at the wall in right field to rob Will Venable of an extra-base hit and likely a run in the seventh inning.
Then in the bottom of the inning, Cody Ross hit a home run off the left field foul pole.
"They beat us in every aspect of the game," said Padres third baseman Chase Headley, who had one of the three hits, a double in the fourth inning.