SAN FRANCISCO -- The Rockies' patience through Tyler Anderson's struggles paid off Friday night.
They just couldn't be totally happy about it because the offense managed just two hits off Chris Stratton in a 2-0 loss to the Giants at AT&T Park that lowered the Rockies' lead over the Dodgers in the National League West to a half-game.
After posting an 11.64 ERA over his previous five starts, Anderson (6-9) corrected a flaw in his delivery and struck out six -- with no walks -- in his six innings. The only runs off him came in the second inning, during which three of the four hits were soft. Austin Slater's two-run single came after hits by Nick Hundley and Joe Panik, and a wild pitch on a fastball that sailed.
"I felt good," Anderson said. "That was still, obviously, one of those things where every pitch wasn't perfect. If I don't throw a wild pitch there, we might still be playing. I might throw a double-play ball and we could still be going."
Stratton (10-9) vanquished the Giants' losing streak at 11 games by striking out seven, facing multiple baserunners in just one inning, and firing his first career shutout and complete game.
The performance was a measure of revenge for Stratton, who entered with a 9.16 ERA in four career starts against the Rockies.
"The last two times, they've really gotten to me," said Stratton, who has a 2.22 ERA in five starts since returning from a stint at Triple-A Sacramento. "That was the reason for one of my last demotions."
In the second, Stratton extracted a Andrew Butera grounder to third with two on base. In the sixth, Charlie Blackmon led off with an infield single and the final two outs were hard -- Nolan Arenado to the left-field warning track, where Gregor Blanco made a leaping catch, and David Dahl on a liner to right.
"He attacked us," Butera said. "He threw all his pitches for strikes. He didn't miss many spots. He kind of had a sneaky fastball tonight. When you're throwing everything for strikes, it keeps us in swing mode."
The Rockies had won seven games during a 10-game homestand, which began with a three-game sweep of the Giants, and had 29 hits while beating the D-backs on Wednesday and Thursday. But Stratton nullified that offense Friday, and the race tightened because of the Dodgers' 3-0 victory at St. Louis. Plus, the third-place D-backs topped the Astros, 4-2, and trail the Rockies by 3 1/2 games.
"He had good life to his fastball -- the guys coming back in [to the dugout] said he had good ride to it, it as cutting, it as darting," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "We just couldn't seem to square it up consistently. We hit some balls on the nose, but right at them."
If Anderson maintains the groove he found Friday, the loss just might be a net positive.
In his last start, a 2 2/3-inning, four-run mess and a 9-6 home loss to the Dodgers, Anderson exacerbated a bad habit -- dropping his release point some six inches on his cutter. In April and May, he was releasing the cutter 6 feet from the ground, according to Statcast™. But where the ball left his hand crept downward, and in his two earlier starts this month that point was 5 feet, 6 inches.
But on Friday, the cutter was back, and it helped his mix -- which includes a four-seam fastball and a changeup, with a two-seam fastball mixed in on occasion. Notably, Anderson shook off the two-run second inning by striking out the side on 10 pitches in the third.
"That's what he's about," Black said. "Part of the strength of Tyler is his mentality and his aptitude, body awareness and all those things. Going into the game he was in a pretty good spot as far as his delivery, based on what I saw the last four or five days in between his starts."
Righty German Marquez (12-9, 3.94) hopes to continue one of the hottest streaks for a starter in Rockies history -- nine straight quality starts, longest since Ubaldo Jimenez's 14-start streak in 2010 -- when he faces the Giants and lefty Madison Bumgarner (5-6, 3.30) on Saturday night at AT&T Park, with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. MT. Marquez struck out 11 on Sept. 9 against the Giants, but he's 0-2 with an 8.79 ERA in his career at AT&T Park.