NEW YORK -- For nearly an hour Thursday, heavy rains pelted Citi Field, saturating the outfield grass, the tarp that stretched out tightly over the infield, and essentially everything else that was left unprotected from the elements.
The Padres didn't seem to mind much and, after a 68-minute rain delay, were actually more productive once the tarp was pulled, peppering Mets pitching for a season high in hits and runs in an 11-5 victory in front of a crowd of 24,109 who probably wish they'd taken cover sooner.
For Mets pitching, though, there was nowhere to run and hide.
The Padres (17-29) put together a much-welcomed, though altogether unlikely night offensively, as they had 18 hits, including a career-high four hits by Everth Cabrera and three more from Cameron Maybin as every position player in the starting lineup had at least one hit.
"We put up four runs [in the third inning] and didn't stop," said Padres manager Bud Black. "You can see guys are taking better swings and having better contact. The trick is to keep it going."
Eighteen hits in one game? The Padres had 22 hits while getting swept during a three-game series in St. Louis before heading to New York. Eleven runs? The Padres went into Thursday's game, the first of four against the Mets, having scored 12 runs in their previous five games.
"Good numbers," said Padres third baseman Chase Headley. "You're not going to get that every night, but when you get good at-bats up and down the lineup like we did, you give yourself a chance."
The beneficiary of this sudden offensive outburst was Padres pitcher Eric Stults, who a week ago was still without a team after being designated for assignment by the White Sox.
It was just eight days ago when Stults played long toss with his brother-in-law in the backyard of his home in Indiana to keep his left arm in shape.
It's a good thing for the Padres he did.
With four starting pitchers currently on the disabled list -- Tim Stauffer, Dustin Moseley, Joe Wieland and Cory Luebke -- the Padres signed the 32-year-old Stults on May 18 and told him he was starting the next day. Stults (1-0) allowed two runs over 6 2/3 innings against the Dodgers last Friday, and then Thursday allowed one unearned run in five innings against the Mets.
"They hit some balls hard at guys, but I felt I was able to get ground balls," Stults said. "I felt like I was pretty efficient."
Stults might have worked deeper into the game, but he was struck on the back of his left triceps by a ball hit by Vinny Rottino in the fourth inning. He worked the fifth inning but told Black after that the spot on his arm where the ball struck him felt sore when he tried to throw his breaking ball.
"It's a little stiff right now," Stults said. "It's like taking a pretty bad Charley horse."
The rains fell steadily over the first two innings before play was stopped after the second inning. When the game resumed in the top of the third inning, the Padres scored four times, as Cabrera set the table with a double. Will Venable added an RBI double, Maybin had an RBI single, and Jesus Guzman added a two-run double in the inning.
For Cabrera, who went into Wednesday's game hitless in his first 19 at-bats since being recalled from Triple-A, he got hits in his last two at-bats Wednesday and hits in his first four Thursday.
"He hits some balls decent in St. Louis, and today hit four balls on the nose," Black said.
All of the Padres' damage in that fourth inning came against Mets pitcher Jeremy Hefner (0-2), who spent his first five pro seasons (2007-11) pitching in San Diego's Minor League system, advancing as far as Triple-A Tucson last season.
Hefner, a victim of the 40-man roster numbers crunch in the offseason, was claimed off waivers by the Pirates in November. A month later, the Mets claimed him. He opened Friday's game with two scoreless innings, but the Padres knocked him out of the game 1 2/3 innings after the rain delay.
The Mets (24-21) got three hits, including a two-run home run, by David Wright. Wright is now hitting .405 this season. He said the difference Thursday was that his team -- unlike the Padres -- didn't play well after the rain delay.
"It's not an excuse, but that rain delay took the momentum that we had and kind of turned it against us a little bit. It felt like we were playing well for the first couple innings," Wright said.