DENVER -- Pitcher Eric Stults gave the Padres exactly what it needed Thursday -- five shutout innings in a 2-1 victory over the Mets at Citi Field -- the first victory for the team in three games.
Stults wishes he could have given a little more in terms of innings, although the Mets were able to drive up his pitch count with 21 foul balls over five innings -- including eight in the first inning and seven in the fourth.
"There were a lot of long at-bats," said Padres manager Bud Black. "The grinding kind of at-bats, the win-the-battle at-bats. And we [Stults] won most of those."
Stults, who threw 95 pitches, allowed three hits, two walks and had seven strikeouts. The strikeouts had a part in driving up his pitch count, but so did the fouls balls.
"They were fouling some good pitches off. I don't think that's a bad thing," Stults said. "But obviously, as a pitcher, you want to me efficient. For as long as I can remember, coaches have always stressed putting the ball in play. [A bevy of foul balls is] not something you want to make a habit of."
The more pitches you throw a particular hitter, Stults said, the more you want to get the at-bat over -- but it also heightens how much you want to win that at-bat.
"There are some at-bats where you've thrown everything and you just want to get it over with. But you also don't want to give in," Stults said. "You're throwing good pitches and he's fouling off good pitches. If you're going to eight to 10 pitches to a hitter, you want to come out on top just like he does."