LOS ANGELES (AP) — Eric Stults returned to the Dodger Stadium mound for the first time since leaving the team he began his major league career with to go play in Japan. And he matched NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw pitch for pitch — except for the first one.
Chris Denorfia drove Kershaw's first delivery into the left-field pavilion, but the Padres didn't score again until after the left-hander departed in the seventh for a pinch-hitter. Stults kept Los Angeles' formidable lineup in check for six innings Tuesday night, allowing a run and seven hits before San Diego won 6-3 in 11.
The no-decision left Stults 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA in six starts since rejoining the Padres' rotation on Aug. 6. He made four relief appearances following a 6-0 loss to Arizona on June 3, which led to a 6½-week stint on the disabled list with a strained left lat.
Stults pitched on the night before the sixth anniversary of his major league debut. The 32-year-old lefty made 24 starts for the Dodgers during his first four big league seasons, including a pair of four-hit shutouts at Chavez Ravine against the White Sox in June 2008 and the Giants in May 2009.
"I didn't know that, but Stultsie's been good for us — especially the last month," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Tonight he matched up with probably the best left-handed pitcher in the game and dueled him pitch for pitch. We've given him an opportunity to jump into a major league rotation and he's pitched extremely well for us."
Logan Forsythe hit a two-run single with the bases loaded in the 11th against John Ely (0-1). Yasmani Grandal tied the score with a two-run homer in the eighth off Matt Guerrier after a single by Chase Headley.
"We've been pretty clutch the second half of the season, and tonight was my night to come through," Grandal said. "Forsythe also did it in the 11th inning with a big clutch hit that got us a win."
Guerrier had been limited to 8 2-3 innings all season due to elbow tendinitis. He took the loss last Friday night against Arizona when he served up a leadoff homer in the 11th inning to Jason Kubel in his first appearance since April 18.
"I was just looking for something to hit," Grandal said. "I was able to get a good pitch that he left middle-in, and I was able to drive it out of the ballpark."
Ely (0-1), working his second inning of relief, gave up a leadoff single to Cameron Maybin in the 11th. Everth Cabrera followed with a bunt single, and both runners took an extra base on third baseman Luis Cruz's throwing error to first.
Will Venable was intentionally walked with one out before Forsythe lined a 1-2 pitch to right-center. Headley followed with an RBI single.
"My approach was just to see the ball deep and try to go back up the box with it," Forsythe said. "Luckily, I got a pitch to do it with and stayed through it well enough to put us on the board."