PHOENIX — Joe Panik had three hits and Chris Stratton pitched three scoreless innings to lead the San Francisco Giants over the Milwaukee Brewers 3-1 Thursday.
Panik, who missed the last two months of the 2015 season because a stress fracture in his back, entered 3-for-13 in spring training. He doubled in the first, singled in the third and hit an RBI double in the fourth.
“It feels good to hit the ball that way,” Panik said. “When I was trying to play through the back, I was doing what we call filleting, almost a tennis backhand. … To be able to put everything into it again and stay behind the ball and rotate feels pretty good. I had a couple of two-strike hits. The last one, I battled back from 0-2, fought off a splitter and got the count back closer to my favor and I hit the ball with authority.”
Stratton, the Giants’ first-round pick in the 2012 amateur draft, induced seven ground-ball outs among 11 batters. He struck out two.
Milwaukee had three hits — none until Alex Pressley singled with one out in the fifth.
“We hit a lot of ground balls today and they made plays,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “We never had much going. We didn’t have more than one or two guys in scoring position.”
Stratton allowed two runners. He walked Jonathan Lucroy in the first and Rymer Liriano reached on a wild pitch after swinging at strike three in the second.
“He was able to keep the ball down in the zone and did a very good job,” Panik said. “Guys who throws strikes and ground balls, especially with our infield, that’s what you want out of a pitcher”
Brandon Belt was hit on the right hand by a Jimmy Nelson pitch in the first inning, sustained a bruise and stayed in the game. He was coming off a sinus infection. “I didn’t think it was going to hit me at first, so it was kind of a shocker when it did,” Belt said.
“When it’s broken, you know that feeling right away, and this wasn’t that. It’s just bruised pretty good.”