SD@LAD: Stults hits first career homer for early lead

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.

Headley's return appears imminent

Casey Headley, Benito Santiago on Chase's two awards

LOS ANGELES -- One thing was certain Tuesday: Third baseman Chase Headley wasn't at Dodger Stadium for the second game of a three-game series against the Dodgers.

Come Wednesday, though, that could change.

Headley, who fractured the tip of his left thumb on March 17 during a Spring Training game, played in his fourth Minor League game in five days on Tuesday, playing for the Class A Lake Elsinore Storm.

San Diego manager Bud Black was asked if Headley could be at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday.

"Possibly," Black said. "We're going to see how it goes tonight."

Either way, Headley isn't far off. If he doesn't return Wednesday, he'll most certainly be back in the lineup on Friday when the Padres open a three-game series in San Francisco.

In his first three Minor League rehab games, Headley hit .222 (2-for-9). On Tuesday, he was scheduled to face Dodgers pitcher Ted Lilly, who is on a Minor League rehab assignment with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.

Black said he had a conversation with Headley on Tuesday morning and Headley informed him that he was tested in the field.

"He's close," Black said.

Padres lose Ransom to Cubs' waiver claim

MIL@SD: Ransom rips a solo homer to right field

LOS ANGELES -- The Padres lost infielder Cody Ransom on Tuesday as the Chicago Cubs claimed him off waivers.

Ransom, who was designated for assignment before Friday's game against the Rockies, was hitless in 11 at-bats with five strikeouts in five games. He played third base in four games and pinch-hit once.

The Padres designated Ransom in order to add another pitcher, right-hander Thad Weber, who has since been sent back to Triple-A Tucson. The Padres hoped Ransom would clear waivers so they could send him in Triple-A.

Ransom, who signed a Minor League contract with the Padres in December, made the Opening Day roster when third baseman Chase Headley and infielder Logan Forsythe landed on the disabled list during Spring Training.

Worth noting

• Going into Tuesday's game, the Padres' combination of Everth Cabrera and Chris Denorfia in the leadoff spot has produced a .300 batting average and a .397 on-base percentage. A year ago, Padres leadoff hitters had a .264 average and a .329 on-base percentage and a National League-leading 45 stolen bases.

• Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin, serving an eight-game suspension for his role in Thursday's fracas with the Dodgers, is working out with Lake Elsinore. Quentin, who can't play in Minor League games while suspended, is eligible to return to the Padres on April 23 against the Brewers at Petco Park.