Stults' versatile background pays off

Stults' versatile background pays off

LOS ANGELES -- Pitcher Eric Stults gave the Padres a boost on Monday with his left arm and his bat, as he slugged a three-run home run that was the key blow in a 6-3 victory over the Dodgers.

"It's exciting for a pitcher to hit a home run, but it was nice that it gave us a jolt offensively to help us win the game," Stults said. "It was exciting to be a part of that."

If Stults sounds nonchalant about his first Major League home run, he's not, though the long ball isn't entirely a rare occurrence for him.

A career .248 hitter in the Minor Leagues, Stults has two Minor League home runs, one in 2007 and one in '08, when he played for the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas.

Better still, Stults hit 11 home runs -- and 23 overall in three seasons -- playing center field for Bethel College in Indiana, a NAIA school.

"Hitting was always something that I enjoyed," said Stults, a .335 hitter in college. "And as far as a staff here, we've got some good hitters. We talk about swings as much as we do about pitching."

As for his home run on Monday, Stults was just doing what he's always done as a professional -- trying to make contact.

"I feel like I'm pretty similar as a hitter as I've always been," he said. "I'm just trying to square up my shoulders and keep my head still. Hopefully it finds a hole. Last night, it went over the fence."

Stults became the sixth Padres pitcher to hit a home run at Dodger Stadium and the first since Jake Peavy in '06. He's also the sixth visiting pitcher in Major League history to drill a home run with at least two runners on base at Dodger Stadium, according to Elias.

"That was a big, big hit for us," said Padres manager Bud Black.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.