SAN FRANCISCO -- Chris Stratton scooted down the dugout steps following the eighth inning of his outing against the Rockies on Friday night. Awaiting him were a host of high fives and handshakes from his teammates. He might have thrown 105 pitches to that point, but there was no way
SAN FRANCISCO -- Chris Stratton scooted down the dugout steps following the eighth inning of his outing against the Rockies on Friday night. Awaiting him were a host of high fives and handshakes from his teammates. He might have thrown 105 pitches to that point, but there was no way Giants manager Bruce Bochy was about to pull Stratton from the pitcher's mound.
Admittedly, the skipper got a bit worried when he saw the premature celebration.
"I didn't want him to think he was done," Bochy said. "I didn't think he was done. His stuff was still there."
Bochy was right. Stratton used nine more pitches to finish off the robust Rockies lineup in the ninth, securing the first complete game and shutout of his career in a paramount 2-0 victory.
So, how can a mid-September victory for a fourth-place team be characterized as paramount? When it snaps an 11-game losing streak and helps the franchise avoid its first 12-game skid since 1944.
"It's great to get off the schneid," Bochy said. "I'm not going to lie, it wears on you, it does."
The aggressive Rockies lineup swung early and often against Stratton, but it didn't result in much hard contact. Colorado recorded just two singles and pushed just one runner past first base. Stratton didn't do anything fancy, relying on his sharp fastball command and defense to navigate through the 114-pitch outing. He struck out seven while walking two and recording at least eight shutout innings for the second time in four starts.
"I'm glad he gave me the chance to go back out there and do it," Stratton said.
It marked the seventh shutout of the year by a National League pitcher and also gave Stratton a small slice of revenge. In early July, the Rockies battered him around for eight runs to prelude a demotion to Triple-A Sacramento. Friday's victory also snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Giants against the Rockies.
"They're a great lineup," Stratton said. "They hit some balls hard tonight, they just happened to go right to some people. It has to be kind of a perfect storm sometimes."
For the first time in his career, Stratton stood in the middle of the field after recording 27 outs, going through a gauntlet of hugs before Bochy delivered the final one near the dugout.
"Little weird, little weird," Stratton said of the postgame celebration. "There's been some times where I've come out of the 'pen and finished the game. But that was definitely one for the record books there for me."
"It seems like we just won a World Series or something like that," added Gregor Blanco, who aided Stratton with a stellar running grab near the wall in the sixth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Giants used four second-inning singles to sink the Rockies. After Nick Hundley and Joe Panik got aboard with one out, both were able to advance 90 feet on a wild pitch from Tyler Anderson. That set the stage for Austin Slater, who drove in both of the game's runs with a single up the middle that glanced off the glove of a diving Trevor Story at shortstop.
"That's how we have to play," Bochy said. "We're not a team that can rely on the long ball. You know that. We've got to do those little things."
BELT EXITS EARLY
Brandon Belt's nagging knee soreness forced him to leave Friday's game in the seventh inning. Belt is expected to have arthroscopic surgery this offseason and said his knee "just got worse" throughout the game, but he didn't have more information about what could be next. Bochy said he is "concerned" about Belt's balky knee and that he'll sit down with the first baseman and head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner on Saturday.
"We've got to be smart about this and see where he's at," Bochy said. "You get caught in a diminishing return area, where you're starting a guy, then he has to come out of the game. Now, you're caught a little bit. We need to stay away from that. I know he wants to get out there and he's trying to go out there to help out the ballclub, but if it's that sore and you can't get through nine, it's a case where you can't start."
The Giants' series against the Rockies continues with Saturday's 6:05 p.m. PT home matchup, when Madison Bumgarner (5-6, 3.30 ERA) will try to rebound from a pair of poor starts that resulted in 11 earned runs across 11 innings of work. The Rockies knocked him around for seven runs (six earned) in their last meeting on Sept. 3 at Coors Field. Colorado will counter with righty German Marquez (12-9, 3.94), who has racked up at least 11 strikeouts in each of his past three outings.
Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com.