Stratton eclipses Crew in Giants’ first home shutout

A large group of Giants sat around a small table in the reliever’s corner of the clubhouse following their 2-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. The table is a new addition, but the group had things to discuss and celebrate.

As starter Chris Stratton fielded reporters’ questions, he’d laughed off one other, shouted by his catcher Nick Hundley from the table:

“Tell us about your one punchout!”

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Giants clubhouse at AT&T Park.

This is funny, because Stratton struck out 10 Washington Nationals over 6-2/3 shutout innings in his last start.

Monday night, though, he followed that up with one strikeout over 6 scoreless innings against the Brewers.

His teammates’ reason for celebration, of course, went beyond the one-punchout joke. Pablo Sandoval asked him how his butt was (he got hit there by a line drive, thereby assisting a double play). But bigger than all that is the fact that the rookie shut down two playoff contenders within the week. Stratton’s 12-2/3 consecutive scoreless innings are the most a Giants rookie has managed since Chris Heston went 16-1/3 it in 2015.

Stratton’s outing primed his team their first shutout at AT&T Park and second all season. It took two rookie performances (the other from Ty Blach against the Phillies) to get there. Finally, the 39,000 fans that showed up to AT&T Park had a delightfully boring game to watch.

What made it perfectly boring? Stratton’s curveball didn’t inspire unsuccessful third-strike swings from the Brewers like it did the Nationals, more importantly the rookie managed to keep them essentially out of scoring position.

Three Brewers — Travis Shaw, Domingo Santana and Keon Broxton — have 20 homers or more, but they and the rest of the lineup were stumped, collecting just four hits and moving beyond first base just twice.

Stratton’s success is a somewhat unexpected glimmer in this season partially spent avoiding embarrassment and partially dedicated to long tryouts for 2018. This stretch of success seemed unlikely only because of Stratton’s odd working hours.

He’s been optioned three times, placed on the disabled list once and thrust out of the bullpen and into three spot starts all this season. Manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged his ability to adapt:

“He’s really handled it well. We skipped him, moved him around, but he’s really handled it well.”

With Johnny Cueto set to make his first rehab start Tuesday, Stratton’s stride may be cut short in mere weeks. His two wins, his scoreless streak — at least — provides the Giants another arm to consider for next season.

Brandon Crawford and Ryder Jones thwarted Milwaukee’s most aggressive attempt to rally on the base paths, snagging Stephen Vogt at home for a wild two-stop relay from Jarrett Parker in left field on Orlando Arcia‘s single.

Stratton’s dominance set the table for Milwaukee starter Zach Davies‘ first road loss of the season. All the Giants needed was an RBI double from Crawford, with the added insurance of a run-scoring ground-out courtesy of Hundley.

Matt Cain relieved his rotation replacement and dished a perfect seventh. Mark Melancon pitched for a second night in a row for the first time since returning from a strained pronator (forearm) and struck out two in a perfect eighth and Sam Dyson a scoreless ninth, despite a last-second reverse call.

Sandoval was the next victim of the hit-by-pitch, this time off the wrist on a pitch from Carlos Torres. Sandoval exited the game but Bochy said it was just a contusion and he should be ready to play Tuesday.

Notes

Melvin Upton Jr. opted out of his minor league contract with the Giants, making way for a Steven Duggar promotion to triple-A Sacramento. Get ready to see more of him in the outfield come Spring time. … Joe Panik is doing better, recovering from concussions symptoms, and could start his rehab assignment in Sacramento as early as Tuesday, then head to San Jose when the River Cats travel. … Johnny Cueto was scratched from his rehab start with an illness, so he’ll probably join Panik in Sacramento.


Shayna Rubin is SFBay’s San Francisco Giants beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @ShaynaRubin on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Giants baseball.