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Stratton solves LA, sends Giants home with win

MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

LOS ANGELES -- For the Giants, Sunday's 4-1 victory over the Dodgers represented a satisfying conclusion to an often-rigorous three-city trip.

For Chris Stratton, the game ideally will be remembered as one in a series of triumphs that perpetuate a successful big league career.

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LOS ANGELES -- For the Giants, Sunday's 4-1 victory over the Dodgers represented a satisfying conclusion to an often-rigorous three-city trip.

For Chris Stratton, the game ideally will be remembered as one in a series of triumphs that perpetuate a successful big league career.

View Full Game Coverage

Stratton (8-4) demonstrated why he's the Giants' leading winner as he enabled them to avoid being swept in the three-game series against their archrivals. Nick Hundley and Brandon Belt each hit two-run homers to account for San Francisco's scoring.

Stratton prevailed while yielding only an unearned run and three hits in six innings. He issued one walk, affirming that he would not beat himself.

This victory was topped by a dab of long-term significance for Stratton, since it demonstrated his adaptability. He entered the game with subpar career statistics against Los Angeles: a 1-3 record with a 7.94 ERA in six appearances, including five starts. Stratton hopes to pitch for the Giants for a long time. To accomplish that, he would have to establish a measure of effectiveness against the Dodgers, a team he might face five or six times each season.

"It's a big challenge," said Stratton, 27. "Every pitcher has his strengths and every hitter has his weaknesses. You can exploit them only so long before they make an adjustment."

Video: SF@LAD: Stratton gets Puig to ground into a DP

Sunday, Stratton was the one to adjust. The right-hander discovered early in the game that he lacked his best fastball. Yet he managed to survive with his other deliveries, retiring 11 of the final 12 batters he confronted.

"I definitely had to mix it up today, without the fastball," Stratton said.

Fortunately for Stratton, his curveball and changeup remained sharp. He also had Hundley and Belt on his side. Their homers were the only hits surrendered by Dodgers starter Caleb Ferguson, who lasted five innings.

Hundley planted his drive halfway up the left-field pavilion. According to Statcast™, it traveled a projected 432 feet -- his deepest among his eight home runs this season.

Belt's opposite-field clout to left was his first homer since May 20, a gap that includes the 13 games he missed following his appendectomy at the beginning of June. Despite the unwanted time off, he still leads the team with 12 home runs.

Video: SF@LAD: Belt rips a 2-run homer to left-center

Belt believed strongly that he wouldn't need a Minor League injury rehabilitation assignment to regain his hitting stroke. He flied out to the warning track Saturday in his first at-bat since being sidelined.

"The way I was feeling in the batting cage, I figured that I would be all right," he said.

As Stratton prepared to leave Dodger Stadium, he said, "It seems like we've been on the road for a month and a half." That observation was repeated minutes later in a different corner of the clubhouse, almost verbatim and without prompting, by Hundley.

The Giants should soon regain their equilibrium. They finished 4-6 on this trip, but they can look forward to playing 20 of their next 26 games at home, where they own a 19-11 record and average five runs a game. By contrast, they're 16-26 on the road, with a 3.5 run-per-game average.

Video: SF@LAD: Strickland fans Bellinger, earns the save

SOUND SMART
The Giants ended their streak of 11 consecutive games at Dodger Stadium in which they scored two runs or fewer, dating back to last year.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Hundley's first-inning home run was a no-doubter, his third-longest since Statcast™ went online in 2015. Mac Williamson's 464-foot clout April 23 off Washington's Shawn Kelley remains the Giants' longest of the year.

Video: SF@LAD: Hundley crushes a 2-run homer to left

Established as one of the more offensively potent backup catchers in the Majors, Hundley has accumulated three homers and eight RBIs in nine games since May 27. But he's not dwelling on the statistics generated by his hitting prowess.

"I'm focused on the next game, the next at-bat," he said.

UP NEXT
Left-hander Andrew Suarez, who's scheduled to start Monday's series opener for the Giants, will undergo an education in pitching. The rookie will be facing Miami for the second game in a row and must make adjustments to perform adequately. Suarez will begin that process with the first pitch, which is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. PT at AT&T Park. Suarez will be opposed by Marlins left-hander Caleb Smith.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants, Brandon Belt, Nick Hundley, Chris Stratton