About 5½ hours later, he arrived at Petco Park and found out he was going to start in place of ailing Chan Ho Park. He didn't even know the opponent until he saw all the fans wearing Los Angeles Dodgers shirts.
"You know, you just never know where you're going to be tomorrow. Always keep your phone on and ready to go," Stauffer said after giving the Padres a desperately needed boost with six impressive innings in an emergency start, a 4-2 win in the opener of a three-game series with the first-place Dodgers.
"You can't say enough about him," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He saved us. We got more than we expected there."
Stauffer (1-0) was hastily summoned from Triple-A Portland for his season debut after Park had a recurrence of intestinal bleeding that recently forced him to go on the disabled list. Park was hospitalized Monday night and tests were planned for Tuesday.
Once Stauffer was at the Portland airport, the Padres called again and told him to board the flight. He made it by five minutes, still not knowing if he was going to pitch.
The first thing he did when he got to the clubhouse was eat. "I was starving," said Stauffer, who pitched on three days rest. He then got a quick scouting report.
"I was a little nervous just from the flight and the indecision of not knowing what was going to happen," Stauffer said. "Once I was out there I was in game mode and felt like my feet were pretty wet from last year, so it just felt like a continuation of last year."
The right-hander held the Dodgers to two runs -- one earned -- and three hits. He got the decision thanks to Mike Cameron, who hit a leadoff triple into the gap in right-center leading off the sixth against Elmer Dessens (0-1) and scored the go-ahead run on Adrian Gonzalez's groundout to shortstop.
It was the third straight game the Padres had to shuffle their pitching due to injuries, and they managed consecutive wins for the second time in 14 games.
"We really needed a pickup," catcher Mike Piazza said. "We've been swimming upstream with the injuries we've had. They've been interesting, to say the least."
With Arizona losing at San Francisco, the defending NL West champion Padres took sole possession of second place and pulled within three games of the Dodgers. The Padres remained two games behind Cincinnati in the wild-card race.
The Dodgers lost for the fourth time in 23 games.
Trevor Hoffman pitched the ninth for his 32nd save in 36 chances, moving within 11 of breaking Lee Smith's record of 478.
Stauffer made his big league debut with San Diego last year, going 3-6 with a 5.33 ERA in 14 starts and one relief appearance.
"He had good command," Dodgers manager Grady Little said. "He wasn't overpowering anybody. He battled out there on short notice and did a great job."
Most Dodgers had never faced Stauffer. "It's something that always scares you to death when you see that happen," Little said. "Tonight, it proved true."
Stauffer retired his first 10 batters before allowing Kenny Lofton's single to center in the fourth and walking J.D. Drew with two outs. The runners advanced on Piazza's passed ball and scored on Jeff Kent's single, which landed just in front of center fielder Mike Cameron.
The Padres scored their first run in an unconventional fashion, with Todd Walker sliding in after a wild pitch and batter Josh Barfield getting hit in the back by the throw from catcher Russell Martin.
San Diego tied it in the fifth when Dave Roberts singled to left with one out, stole second and scored on Walker's two-out double. Brian Giles hit an RBI double in the seventh.
Chad Billingsley allowed two runs and six hits in five innings, struck out five and walked one.
- Stauffer beat out an infield single to third base for San Diego's first hit, with two outs in the third.
- Cla Meredith threw one pitch to get out of the seventh, extending his scoreless innings streak to 18 2/3, the third-longest streak by a Padres rookie reliever.