Chris Stratton overwhelms Padres, has longest start of his career


Chris Stratton overwhelms Padres, has longest start of his career

SAN DIEGO — When it was all over and the Giants gathered on the mound for handshakes and back pats after a 7-0 win over the Padres, some of them started to understand how strange the starting pitcher’s line actually was. 

Chris Stratton allowed one hit in seven innings, and it was a pinch-hit single by starting pitcher Clayton Richard, who was batting only because Bryan Mitchell had struggled so badly that he didn’t even make it to his first plate appearance. Richard became the first player since Pittsburgh’s Mace Brown in 1935 to enter the game as a reliever and get his team’s only hit. 

“I thought he had the day off,” Stratton deadpanned. 

The odd and historic feat by Richard kept Stratton from chasing his own moment with the record books. He walked three, but other than that it was cruise control, a 101 pitch masterpiece that could have been more. Giants starters do, after all, have a history with these Padres. 

Bruce Bochy later said he would have let Stratton go pretty deep to chase a no-hitter. Instead this was just a seven-inning one-hitter, but that still carried significance. Stratton had on three previous occasions thrown 6 2/3 innings, but he had never recorded that 21st out. Going back to spring training, he has talked of getting deeper into games. On this night he became the first Giants starter this season to throw 100 pitches, and the timing couldn’t have been better. The Giants had two players make their MLB debuts on the last turn for the rotation, and the bullpen, Bochy said, was gassed. 

“When you look at the staff, we’ve had to put some young kids in there and now (Stratton) is one of our (main) guys,” Bochy said. “He was coming in as the No. 4 starter, and now it makes him the No. 1 guy. And he can do that. He can handle that. I think he’s ready to take that on as far as getting us deeper into games.”

Stratton had one wobble, walking two in the fifth, but he won a 12-pitch battle with Austin Hedges and emerged from that inning to retire six straight over the final two frames. When he was done, Stratton lowered his season ERA to 2.60 in three starts. In 12 starts since sliding into the rotation full-time last August, he has a 2.47 ERA. Those are not the numbers of a No. 4 starter. 

“He is more than that,” Bochy said, nodding. “He’s just been so consistent with all four of his pitches and with his command. His stuff is better than it shows.”

The Padres found that out over seven innings. Perhaps it's understandable, then, that Richard was the one to get the hit. He didn’t have time to prepare and then be surprised by the carry on Stratton’s fastball, the spin of his curveball, or the depth of his slider. 

“It’s just part of the game,” Stratton said. “That was a good swing by him.”

Chase d'Pitcher? Watch the infielder take the mound for Giants in blowout loss

Chase d'Pitcher? Watch the infielder take the mound for Giants in blowout loss

On April 28, Pablo Sandoval took the mound in a Giants blowout and pitched a perfect inning against the Dodgers.

Nearly four months later, Chase d'Arnaud was called on to pitch in a lost-cause game and almost matched Sandoval.

With the Giants trailing 11-4 in Cincinnati on Sunday, Bruce Bochy had d'Arnaud pitch the bottom of the eighth inning.

The first batter d'Arnaud faced, All-Star third baseman Eugenio Suarez, flew out to right field. Reds right fielder Phillip Ervin ruined d'Arnaud's big for a perfect inning by singling to right. Pinch hitter Preston Tucker followed by flying out to center field. d'Arnaud retired the side by getting second baseman Dilson Herrera to fly out to right field.

Watch the highlights from d'Arnaud's inning of work above.

Giants swept by lowly Reds in Cincinnati, sink deeper into hole

Giants swept by lowly Reds in Cincinnati, sink deeper into hole


CINCINNATI -- Eugenio Suarez and the Cincinnati Reds closed out a nice weekend with another solid day at the plate.

It was quite a response to a tough series against Cleveland.

Suarez hit a two-run homer during Cincinnati's seven-run third inning, and the Reds swept the San Francisco Giants with an 11-4 win on Sunday.

Jose Peraza also hit a two-run homer for last-place Cincinnati, which outscored San Francisco 18-5 in the last two games. Billy Hamilton tripled twice and drove in three runs.

The Reds also swept the Giants in Cincy last season. Nine different Reds scored at least one run, helping Cincinnati bounce back after it was swept by Cleveland.

"Sometimes it is when you play a club," interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "We had a hot Cleveland team, then we get a Giants team that's been struggling with the bats. We got them at the right time."

San Francisco had a chance to sweep Los Angeles before the Dodgers' 12-inning victory on Wednesday night. The Giants then managed just six runs in the sweep by the Reds, extending their slide to four games.

"It's frustrating," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "We didn't hit much, The offense didn't do anything here. We were hoping for more."

Giants left-hander Andrew Suarez (4-9) was tagged for seven runs, five earned, and seven hits in a season-low 2 2/3 innings in the finale.

"I got ahead," Suarez said. "I just couldn't put them away. I didn't have that putaway pitch today. I thought I had good stuff. The location wasn't there."

Giants infielder Chase d'Arnaud worked a scoreless eighth in his first career pitching appearance.

Suarez's career-best 27th homer made it 6-1 in the third. Scooter Gennett hit a two-run triple before Suarez's drive to center.

Curt Casali also had two hits and drove in two runs in Cincinnati's big inning.

"It was an awesome inning," Casali said. "I'm sure I've had two hits in an inning at some point in my career, but not in the big leagues. Any time you put up a crooked number against a club like that, it's important."

Reds right-hander Luis Castillo (7-10) struck out nine in 6 2/3 innings. He was charged with three runs, one earned, and six hits.

"Everything was working for me today," Castillo said. "I was commanding my changeup. My slider was good and I was throwing strikes. I think, like last year, I'm able to throw my pitches in any situation."

Castillo retired 13 straight batters before Stephen Duggar's two-out single in the seventh.

"You look at his velocity," Bochy said, "I don't know of anybody in the National League who throws harder on average, and his changeup was biting. He was on top of his game."

Peraza finished with three hits as Cincinnati closed out a 5-4 homestand. Phillip Ervin had two hits and scored a run.

Brandon Belt became the first first baseman to lead off for the Giants since David Bell on July 6, 2002, at Arizona. Belt went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.

Aristides Aquino made his major league debut when he ran for Gennett in the sixth inning. Aquino was recalled from Double-A Pensacola on Friday when Joey Votto was placed on the 10-day disabled list.

The Reds had three triples in one game for the first time since Hamilton, Peraza and Devin Mesoraco tripled against the Dodgers on June 17, 2017. Hamilton is the first Red with two triples in one game since Jay Bruce on May 2, 2015, at Atlanta.

Reds: OF Scott Schebler (strained AC joint in his right shoulder) is set for a rehab assignment with Double-A Pensacola. The Reds hope he will be ready to join them in Chicago during their weekend series with the Cubs.

Giants: LHP Derek Holland (6-8) makes just his second career start against the Mets in Monday's series opener in New York.

Reds: Homer Bailey (1-10) is scheduled to start Monday in Milwaukee. The Reds are 1-15 in Bailey's starts this season.