Stratton throws first career shutout; Giants shutout Rockies 2-0 to snap losing skid

Photo credit: @SportingGreenSF

By Jeremy Kahn

SAN FRANCISCO — Despite the fact that they are most likely out of the playoff race, the San Francisco Giants can still play spoiler against the Colorado Rockies.

Chris Stratton threw a complete game, allowing zero runs on just two hits, walking two and striking out seven. The Giants put a stop to their longest losing streak since 1951 with a 2-0 victory over the Rockies before a crowd of 37,800 at AT&T Park Friday night.

This was the first career shutout for Stratton, the first shutout of the season for the Giants, and just the 18th complete game shutout this season.

The 11-game losing streak that the Giants put a halt to was the longest in the National League this season, and ties the Detroit Tigers for the longest in the Major Leagues this season.

With the victory, the Giants defeated the Rockies for the first time since June 28, a span of seven games.

This is the ninth straight that the Giants’ offense have scored three runs or less in a game, the last time that they scored more than three in a game was on September 3, when they scored eight in a 9-8 loss to the Rockies at Coors Field.

Stratton got all the offensive help he needed in the bottom of the second inning, Austin Slater singled in Nick Hundley and Joe Panik, who both singled in front of Slater. The two got into scoring position when Rockies starter Tyler Anderson unleashed the first of his two wild pitches in the inning.

With the victory, Stratton won for the 10th time this season, and also got some big time from his defense, as Gregor Blanco made a leaping catch of a Nolan Arenado hit in the top of the sixth inning that robbed Arenado of extra bases. Brandon Crawford also snared a Trevor Story ball that would have gone for a single.

Stratton also helped himself at the plate, as he lashed a single off of Anderson in that two-run second inning that saw the Giants score the only runs of the game. The right-hander is first Giants pitcher since 2016, when Johnny Cueto won 18, Madison Bumgarner won 15 and Jeff Samardzija won 12, as the Giants made to the National League Division Series, where they lost to the eventual World Champion Chicago Cubs in four games.

Brandon Belt left the game after the bottom of the seventh inning due to right knee soreness.

NOTES: When the Giants lost those 12 straight in 1951, they did it from April 19-29 and a month after the losing streak ended, a 20-year old outfielder was called up to the team on May 25, his name was Willie Howard Mays, Jr.

The Giants lost 13 in a row from August 9-20, 1944, their longest losing streak since 1908.

During the month of September, the Giants have scored a total of 28 runs, an average of 2.33 a game.

Samardzija threw the last Giants shutout on August 28, 2017 against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.

UP NEXT: Madison Bumgarner takes the mound on Saturday night at 6:05 pm PDT, as he looks for his sixth win of the season, while German Marquez will head to the hill for the Rockies in search for his 13th win of the season.

Giants starting to play out the string in upcoming series against the Brewers

Photo credit: @SFGiants

By Jeremy Harness

It’s quite evident that the Giants are not going to make the playoffs – Buster Posey having season-ending surgery and the team trading Andrew McCutchen after a little more than half a season more than showed they have waved the right flag – so they might as well mess things up for teams that are still contending.

They can start with this weekend’s three-game series in Milwaukee against the Brewers, which starts Friday night at Miller Park. The Giants just got finished getting their heads handed to them by the Rockies in Colorado (what else is new?) in getting swept in a three-game series at Coors Field.

So if they are going to play spoiler–or if they think they actually have a chance in grabbing a wild-card spot in the National League–they will need to get things back on track very quickly.

The Giants’ Derek Holland (7-8, 3.56 ERA) will take the ball Friday night against the Brewers’ Chase Anderson (9-7, 3.96 ERA).

Anderson has won each of his last three decisions, and in his last outing, he went five innings and gave up only a run on four hits in a loss to Washington, although he got a no-decision. Holland, meanwhile, has won each of his last two decisions, while he has spent some time in the bullpen this season.

The left-hander went six innings in a loss to the Mets at home–he got a no-decision–and he also gave up only a run and surrendered only four hits in the process.

Chris Stratton (9-8, 4.90 ERA), who has spent some time in Triple-A Sacramento this year, will go Saturday afternoon, and he will face Milwaukee lefty–and former Nationals and A’s standout–Gio Gonzalez.

Stratton has been stellar in his past two starts, although he lost his last outing in a 4-1 loss to the Mets four days ago, when he gave up only a pair of runs on three hits over six innings. The outing before, he shut out the Diamondbacks over eight innings, giving up only five hits and striking out six in a 2-0 win.

On Sunday, Madison Bumgarner (5-5, 3.07 ERA) will take the hill for the Giants and opposite the Brewers’ Zach Davies (2-5, 4.88 ERA).

San Francisco Giants podcast with Morris Phillips: Stratton and Syndergaard engage in pitching duel, but Mets’ early hits hand the Giants a loss

Photo credit: @MLB_News247

On the SF Giants podcast with Morris:

San Francisco Giants starter Chris Stratton on Sunday pitched what would be called a quality start, but Stratton and the Giants lost the game to the New York Mets 4-1. Stratton pitched six innings, two runs, three hits, a walk and two strikeouts.

Stratton gave up a two run-homer to Michael Conforto and a double to Todd Frazier. The Mets’ starter Noah Syndergaard pitched his first complete game and gave up one run and two hits, walked one, and struck out a season-high 11. The Giants start a six-game road trip in Colorado and open up a three-game series in Milwaukee on Friday. Two teams the Giants face that are both in the run for postseason play in a crucial road trip for the Giants, who are trying to get some day light for postseason themselves.

Morris does the Giants podcasts each Monday at

Playing Spoiler: Giants, Stratton make life difficult for the Diamondbacks in 2-0 shutout

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — Chris Stratton’s storyline ran hot in April, May and the first half of June, and just that quickly, times changed.

Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez raised their profiles and became the story, Stratton didn’t pitch as well, and with the 28-year old showing wear and tear, the Giants pushed the reset button.

Stratton was demoted on August 3rd and of course, in San Francisco and other major league outposts, we didn’t hear much else. But Stratton’s story and his breakout season wasn’t quite finished.

The Diamondbacks got introduced to Stratton a year ago. On Monday, the NL West leaders and the crowd at AT&T Park were reintroduced to the Giants’ first round pick in the 2012 draft with his eye-catching display.

In his best start of the season, Stratton shut down the D-Backs, going in eight innings in a 2-0 Giants’ win. It marked Stratton’s ninth win of the year, and the lengthiest outing of his big league career.

“He was really good,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Stratton. “Really good with his command and all his pitches: curveball, slider, change, really spotted his fastball well, and we needed it, their guy threw well.”

Of all the statements made about Stratton Monday, the fact that his performance rivaled Arizona starter Patrick Corbin’s outing spoke volumes. Corbin was dominant, shutting down the Giants without a peep outside of the 3-1 pitch thrown to Steven Duggar in the second inning that exited the park in a hurry.

“It might have been off the plate, but a really good swing there to put some runs on,” Corbin said. “It was still early in the game there (and) it felt like just put up some zeros and just tonight their guy pitched a little better than me.”

Outside of that pitch, Corbin allowed three other hits, struck out nine and walked one in seven innings. And whike it felt as if Arizona would support Corbin’s brilliance, it never happened. The D-Backs went quietly, managing just a pair of ninth inning walks after John Jay tripled with two outs in the fifth.

The Giants and D-Backs continue their series Wednesday night at 7:15 pm PDT.

Colorado goes Coors, Rockies nip the Giants 9-8

Photo credit: @Rockies

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — Those top-of-the-order guys that were stymied by Madison Bumgarner and the Giants’ bullpen on Wednesday, showed up big for the Rockies at AT&T Park on Thursday.

DJ LeMahieu capped his three hit, five RBI day with a game-winning, two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning, and the Rockies rallied to beat the Giants, 9-8.

Nolan Arenado hit his 19th homer, and Trevor Story racked up three hits as the Rockies snapped the Giants’ streak of 15 games in which their starting pitcher allowed three runs or less.

Chris Stratton began the afternoon looking for his ninth win, but only lasted four innings, allowing eight hits and five runs.

The Giants scored twice in the eighth to take the lead, giving Sam Dyson a chance to record the final three outs, but the Giants’ closer allowed LeMahieu’s home run to left field with a runner aboard. The Giants fell to 36-2 in games they led after eight innings.

“Tough one when you have a lead in the ninth and we couldn’t hold on to it,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Sam was just a little bit off.”

“I felt like we got some big outs, and some big hits and it turned into a win. We just got to keep it going,” LeMahieu said.

The Giants finished their homestand 7-3 and failed to win eight times on a homestand for the first time since 2012. They travel to Arizona and Colorado on a six-game trip beginning Friday night.

Rollercoaster ride: Giants start fast, then hang on in 10-7 homecoming win over the Reds

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–The Giants returned home from a rough road trip on Monday, and appeared to have their handpicked, get-well opponent in place: the NL bottom-dwelling Cincinnati Reds.

Except the Reds–after falling 19 games under .500 in the season’s first 35 games and firing manager Bryan Price–suddenly turned hot over the weekend, sweeping a four-game set at Dodgers Stadium.

So what to expect Monday night? A ragged ballgame were neither team looked like the ’98 Yankees, especially the Giants who burst out to a 9-4, sixth inning lead only to hold on for a 10-7 win that got dicey in the ninth.

“They’ve been playing very well, they’ve been scoring runs,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We had a lot of timely hitting going on. It was good to start a homestand like this.”

After interrupting a six-game slide on Sunday with a 5-0, getaway win in Pittsburgh, the Giants were looking to maintain their self-esteem on Monday. They did that with 14 hits, seven of them doubles, and 12 of those 14 coming from the first six guys in the lineup. After Brandon Belt homered in the eighth, the Giants were three outs away from a tidy, 10-4 win.

But the ninth got hairy as reliever Jose Valdez, in just his second appearance as a Giant, allowed a three-run homer to Adam Duvall. Valdez did recover however, striking out Scooter Gennett to end the ballgame.

Chris Stratton picked up the win, going five innings, allowing nine hits and four runs. That was just enough for Stratton to pick up his fourth win and comfortably keep his rising ERA under 5.00. Stratton allowed home runs to Tucker Barnhart and Scott Schebler.

The Giants evened their record at 21-21 with the win, surprisingly enough to keep the club within 3 1/2 games of division-leading Arizona, who lost their sixth straight on Monday. If Monday’s snapshot of the league standings is any indicator, 2018 is no 2017. This time last year, the Giants’ awful start had them dead and buried as the Dodgers, D-Backs and Rockies surged on their way to playoff appearances. This season, a .500 record has them within reach of the entire National League, where 10 of the 15 clubs have winning records, but none are better than the Braves at a modest 25-16. The Giants swept the Braves in Atlanta last week.

Andrew McCutchen picked up the 1,500th hit of his 10-year, big league career in the Giants’ three-run, first inning. McCutchen finished with a pair of doubles and scored twice.

A guy with more than 1,600 career hits, Joey Votto of the Reds, had an interesting, if not brief evening. Votto was at the plate in the first inning when a 3.5 earthquake registered in the East Bay, and probably caused more of a stir within the stadium on people’s cell phones than in their senses. Votto would ground out in that at-bat. His second at-bat ended his evening, a base hit with enough personality that it took a right turn on outfielder Gregor Blanco for an additional base error. But Votto eased up turning around first and was removed with lower-back tightness, which he said cropped up in warmups.

“I was feeling pretty good and then that earthquake hit and all of a sudden everything got thrown off right around 7:18 p.m. in the middle of my first at-bat,” the not-normally humorous Votto said afterwards.

The Giants have Ty Blach starting Tuesday, in a Ty-Ty affair. Tyler Mahle starts for the Reds, a 23-year old who holds the distinction of being the active-leader in strikeouts among all players aged 23 or younger with 58 in the 64 plus innings of his career, accumulated this season and last. That’s no trivial matter for the Giants; they’ve struck out 92 times in their last eight games, including six on Monday. In fact, the Giants have suffered 10 strikeouts or more in 14 of their 42 games this far.

Stratton thrives for spot in 2018 rotation

San Francisco Giants pitcher Chris Stratton works against the San Diego Padres during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

By Jeremy Kahn

SAN FRANCISCO-What a nice night for the San Francisco Giants to get some offense, especially with 100 losses looming on the horizon.

Well, with their 8-0 victory over the San Diego Padres, the Giants’ chances to lose 100 games is nil, as the team won their 63rd game against 97 losses.

The 1985 Giants remain the only team in team history to ever lose 100 games in a season, and the next season, the Giants won 79 games and in 1987, they won their first National League Western Division Championship since 1971.

Chris Stratton pitched a great game, as he went 6.2 innings, allowing zero runs on six hits, while walking two and striking out seven and the right-hander finished the 2017 season with a record of 4-4.

Buster Posey got the scoring started in the bottom of the first inning, as he drove in Joe Panik, who singled with one out in the inning. Brandon Crawford then drove in Posey with a single and then Pablo Sandoval made it three run scoring hits in a row, as he doubled in Crawford for the third and final run of the inning.

All was quiet on the Shores of McCovey Cove until the bottom of the fourth inning, when the Giants erupted for four runs to extend their lead up to 7-0.

Panik got the party started in the bottom of the fourth inning, as after Nick Hundley and Stratton made the first two outs of the inning, Hunter Pence began a streak of five straight Giants players to reach base.

It was a big night for Panik, as he went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and a run batted in.

Hunter Pence singled then Panik doubled him in, then Posey hit his second of three doubles to score Panik and then Crawford singled in both Denard Span, who walked and Posey.

The Giants added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Posey hit his third double of the night that scored Pence.

All three of Posey’s doubles ended with a run scoring, as the Giants got their biggest run differential win since June 2, when Ty Blach shutout the Philadelphia Phillies 10-0.

NOTES: Matt Cain will make his final start of his 13-year major league career on Saturday afternoon, as he will face Jhoulys Chacin, who is looking for his 14th win of the season.

This will be the 331st and final start for Cain in his career, the second most in San Francisco Giants history behind Juan Marichal who made 446 starts for the Giants.

On the 63rd anniversary of Willie Mays famous catch in Game One of the 1954 World Series, Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred announced that the World Series MVP Award will be renamed the Willie Mays World Series Most Valuable Player, this is effective with the 2017 World Series.