SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Eric Stults takes the same approach every year in spring training: Prepare as if nothing is guaranteed.
Stults is still thinking that way even though San Diego Padres manager Bud Black told the journeyman left-hander he has earned a spot in the rotation.
Stults pitched two-run ball for six sharp innings Tuesday in the Padres' 6-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Stults gave up four hits, struck out two and walked one. He also helped his cause with a two-run single in the fourth inning.
"I had a good feel for all four pitches, which this time in spring training is where you want to be," Stults said. "Now that there's only a few starts left in spring training, you want to be game-ready. You want to be season-ready and go out and treat it like you're pitching to win the game."
In his four previous appearances, Stults gave up eight runs on 11 hits in seven innings.
"Some pitchers do great early on. I'm more of a feel pitcher, not overpowering. It takes me maybe a little bit longer to get the feel," Stults said. "I still feel like we've got guys that can pitch, so I need to stay sharp and be ready to go. I'm still going out and trying to compete and trying to get better every day."
Yonder Alonso hit his third home run in his past six games, a solo shot in a four-run fourth. Cody Ransom had two hits including a run-scoring double.
Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz pitched the first inning in place of starter Wade Miley, who threw Monday. Putz allowed a run on one hit with a strikeout. He gave up a leadoff triple to the Padres' Everth Cabrera.