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SD@ARI: Stults holds D-backs to three runs

Some reinforcements have already come, and more should be on the way for the Dodgers.

Third baseman Justin Turner made his first start since June 12 on Friday night, returning from an injured calf. Catcher A.J. Ellis has produced offensively -- and caught a no-hitter -- since his return from the disabled list on June 13. Yasiel Puig started Saturday after dealing with a mild hip strain. Rehabbing pitcher Scott Elbert could give the Dodgers another left-handed arm in the bullpen after the All-Star break. And if all goes well for third baseman Juan Uribe in his rehab assignment, he could return to the team as soon as Monday.

"We've still had our share this year," manager Don Mattingly said of his team's injuries. "I think it's more about luck than anything." Ellis, in particular, has provided the Dodgers with a boost since his return from an ankle sprain.

Since his return, Ellis has reached base in 11 of his 22 plate appearances, batting 5-for-17 with six walks, three runs scored and an RBI. He credited the work hitting coach Mark McGwire did with him while on the DL as part of the reason for his resurgence.

Ellis will catcher left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu in Sunday's finale with the Padres. Ryu is 8-3 with a 3.18 ERA this season and is 1-0 with a 0.68 ERA against San Diego in two career starts.

Ryu will match up against left-hander Eric Stults, a former Dodger.

Stults has been working with pitching coach Darren Balsley to improve on his lackluster results this year. He recently implemented a higher leg kick in his delivery to generate more torque, and that added two to three mph to his fastball in his last start. He's also been trying to keep the ball down in the zone more.

Stults hasn't won since May 10, is tied for the most losses (9) in the National League and has an ERA of 5.76. Opponents are hitting .322 off of him and, after giving up 18 home runs in more than 200 innings last year, he's served up 15 in 75 innings.

"His pitches have been up in the zone," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He's not locating his fastball, and a pitcher like Stultsy has to hit his spots."

That could be even more important against a Dodgers lineup that is nearing full strength.

Padres: Seth Smith dominant against Dodgers
Before Friday night, outfielder Seth Smith was just hitting .188 (9-for-48) in June. It turned out facing the Dodgers was the perfect elixir to his summer struggles.

Smith continued to excel against the Dodgers, going 3-for-3 with two solo shots and a double in the series opener, collecting the most total bases (10) by a Padre in one game in 2014.

"I've been working on my swing and came in and did some early work," said Smith. "It's fun when you put in the work and then see the results."

In 16 plate appearances against Los Angeles this season, Smith is 6-for-12 with four home runs -- half of his season total -- a double and four walks. "I don't think there's any difference. Seth has been swinging pretty good all year long," said Padres manager Bud Black. "In certain parks, [hitters] see the ball better for whatever reason. And Seth sees the ball here in San Diego better than a lot of players."

Dodgers: Matt Kemp heating up
With a single Saturday night, left fielder Matt Kemp extended his hitting streak to nine games.

Kemp's been on a torrid pace of late, raising his average from to .249 to .275 this month, while hitting primarily in the fifth spot of the lineup.

Kemp went 1-for-4 Saturday and has gone 15-for-35 (.429) with three doubles, two homers and 10 RBI since June 12.

Mattingly, who has insisted this year that the 29-year-old Kemp still has the talent to be the player he was in 2011, said he thinks Kemp's recent success is more mental than anything else.

"I don't notice anything a whole lot different," Mattingly said. "But success breeds confidence. The more hits, the better you feel."

Worth noting
• If San Diego wins Sunday, it'll be the Padres' first home series win over Los Angeles since 2010.

• With 35 walks in 69 games, Puig is closing in on his walk total from last season, when he drew 36 walks in 104 games. Comments