AT&T PARK — Throughout the first four months of the 2017 season, as Chris Stratton bounced between the Triple-A rotation and the San Francisco Giants bullpen, the right-hander was little more than an orange and black afterthought.
Since usurping Matt Cain for the final rotation spot at the beginning of August, that’s all changed, and Stratton has started to remind his club why he was a first-round pick back in 2012.
Making his third start since supplanting the longest-tenured Giant, Stratton spun six shutout innings in the 2-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night.
“He had a long first inning there, but he got out of that and really settled down and just pitched well,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Allowing four hits and two walks while striking out one Brewer, Stratton continued building on his impressive month.
In 17.2 August innings, Stratton has surrendered a pair of earned runs — both in his first outing — while totaling 15 strikeouts.
Along with position players like Ryder Jones and Jarrett Parker, Stratton is among the array of young Giants trying to carve out a role for 2018.
“This an important time for these young players coming up,” Bochy said. “Whether it’s Jones or Parker or Stratton, they’re trying to show that they belong here in the major leagues.”
“And they’re, like all of us, getting evaluated as we go into the offseason to give us a better idea of where we’re at with these younger players [and] our needs,” Bochy added. “We’re hoping these guys show they can play here [and that] they’re ready to play here and we don’t have to do something else [in the offseason] because we can do it internally.”
With Johnny Cueto set to begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday, the clock may or may not be ticking on Stratton’s time in the rotation.
“I think it’s fair to say he can earn more starts,” Bochy said. “We’ll see where we’re at when Johnny comes back. If we want to skip somebody or go to a six-man [rotation], we have some options — especially where we’re at right now.”
“When you have a guy that’s throwing the ball the way Chris is, sure, he’s going to go out there he next start,” Bochy said. “And we’d like to pitch him as much as we can.”
The offense broke through against Stratton’s counterpart, Zach Davies, with a two-run fourth inning.
Brandon Crawford brought in the first run, doubling into the right-field corner. The second run came courtesy of a groundout from Nick Hundley.
In relief of Stratton, Cain delivered a scoreless seventh, Mark Melancon pitched a clean eighth and Sam Dyson recorded his 12th save.
The old 9-6-3-2
Stratton escaped the fourth in unusual fashion. With two outs, Orlando Arcia singled into right, allowing Stephen Vogt to advance from first to third.
Brandon Crawford cut off the relay throw from Pence in the middle of the diamond and immediately raced toward Arcia, who was caught up between first and second.
Crawford proceeded to flip the ball to Ryder Jones at first who threw to the plate where Buster Posey was able to tag out Vogt as he tried to race home.
Pablo exits early
Pablo Sandoval left the game in the bottom of the eighth after getting hit in the left forearm by a 94 mph cutter from Carlos Torres. Bochy said it was just a contusion for the third baseman and that Sandoval feels ready to go on Tuesday.
Another big night for Parker
Parker, who scored the game’s first run after leading off the fourth with a walk, also collected a pair of singles. The left fielder is hitting .318 (21-for-66) since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 3.