A meeting of struggling pitchers was called Friday night. A pair of beleaguered left-handers shared a lonely mound of dirt at Petco Park, supposedly baseball’s most forgiving venue. The stakes supplied the difference: one southpaw throwing to keep his team in a playoff race, the other throwing to keep his hold on a tenuous position.

In the Padres’ 10-1 drubbing of the Braves, it was Eric Stults who succeeded, his effectiveness overshadowed by an offensive barrage. Stults, who five days earlier had endured one ruinous inning against these same Braves, yielded an unearned run over 6 1/3 innings, even as the Padres buoyed him with a season-high 20 hits.

“To get runs early is huge and takes the pressure off,” Stults said. “I’ve got to give a lot of credit to our offense. They came out tonight. The way they’ve been swinging the bats lately, I think it’s starting to show. That’s great to see and fun to be a part of.”

Said Tommy Medica, who went 5-for-5 with four runs, two homers and four RBIs: “When the team starts hitting, it’s contagious. You’re rolling over the lineup, people are getting more at-bats, there’s less time in between at-bats. It makes it much easier to hit, instead of it being about an hour in between at-bats when things aren’t going well.”

Five days earlier, Braves starter Mike Minor had pitched well enough to beat these same Padres, giving up two home runs but limiting the damage to three runs. Friday, he once again showed a propensity for surrendering the long ball.

Medica proved his main nemesis in a repeat of their encounter in Atlanta, in which Minor got the better of Medica in two at-bats. In what would be only the start of a teamwide outburst, the Padres first baseman walloped a pair of two-run shots, singlehandedly providing the kind of offense Stults had missed since early May.