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SD@STL: Stults allows two runs over seven innings

The month of August has been pretty kind to Padres left-hander Eric Stults, which is more than he can say for just about every other month of the season.

Stults, who gets the start on Wednesday night against the Dodgers, is 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA in three starts this month. That's by far his best month of the season; his previous lowest ERA was 4.50 in May.

The last time out against the Cardinals, he notched his third straight quality start by allowing two runs on four hits in seven innings of a no-decision.

After allowing a two-run homer to Jhonny Peralta in the second, Stults settled into a groove, retiring 14 of the next 16 hitters he faced en route to five scoreless innings in which he scattered a walk and single.

"I felt pretty good," Stults said. "I'd say physically I felt better, body-wise. I felt like I was able to locate some pitches down in the zone and get some ground balls."

The former Dodger will face off against Roberto Hernandez, who'll be making his third start for Los Angeles since being acquired from Philadelphia on Aug. 7.

He earned his first win in Dodger Blue his last time out, holding Atlanta to one run on three hits in six innings. The Padres, who rank last in the Majors in nearly every offensive statistical category, would figure to be an easier assignment.

But San Diego has played much better of late and entered Tuesday having averaged the most runs per game (4.57) in the National League since the All-Star break. The Friars also entered Tuesday with the highest team on-base percentage (.341) in the Majors.

"They're playing well. They have some new guys, some new faces," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "[Padres manager Bud Black] has always got his team prepared. I think they're leading the National League in pitching, so we'll have our hands full. So we're going to need to play well."

Padres: Benoit recovering from sore shoulder
Closer Joaquin Benoit hasn't pitched since Aug. 13 because of what Black calls a "cranky right shoulder."

Benoit didn't pitch in San Diego's four-game series against the Cardinals over the weekend, when St. Louis won three of four games. The lone Padres' win was a 9-5 decision where a save opportunity wasn't needed.

"He's being evaluated each day," Black said prior to Tuesday's game against the Dodgers. "He's getting close."

The Padres could use rookie Kevin Quackenbush or Dale Thayer in the closer role until Benoit returns.

Dodgers: Arruebarrena recalled
Erisbel Arruebarrena was back from Triple-A Albuquerque on Tuesday and immediately in the lineup at shortstop -- a position where he's proven defensively capable and where he can potentially provide an offensive boost.

"I think he can hit a little bit, honestly," Mattingly said. "The ball comes off his bat well. It sounds like in Cuba he didn't put a whole lot of emphasis on his hitting. It was all about defense. We feel like there's some upside with his bat."

After going 1-for-3 on Tuesday night against San Diego, Arruebarrena is now 6-for-19 with three RBIs in nine games with Los Angeles. He batted .333 in 26 games with the Isotopes.

Mattingly said hitting coach Mark McGwire has worked with Arruebarrena this season to make a few tweaks in his swing, and compared his potential to that of Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons.

"[Arruebarrena is] one of those guys that you just kind of catch people watching him take ground balls," Mattingly said. "He's so smooth over there. His hands are great. I think he's just one of those guys that's special at short."

Worth noting
• Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu played catch before Tuesday's game, testing out his strained right glute on the day he was originally scheduled to start. There is no timetable for his return.

• Padres right-hander Andrew Cashner will return from the disabled list (shoulder soreness) and start this weekend against Arizona.

• Padres rookie Jesse Hahn was sent to Double-A San Antonio on Tuesday to limit his innings workload. Black said Hahn will return when rosters expand on Sept. 1. Comments