LOS ANGELES (AP) — Road weary and a bit homesick, the San Francisco Giants picked up a victory Sunday that could be the momentum needed to get a long stretch in the Bay Area off to a good start.
Nick Hundley and Brandon Belt each hit two-run home runs and Chris Stratton pitched six solid innings to help the San Francisco Giants avoid a three-game sweep at Los Angeles with a 4-1 victory over the Dodgers on Sunday.
It marked the end of the Giants’ fourth three-city road trip over the first 2½ months of the season, and the last hurdle the club needed to clear before a stretch where they play 20 of the next 26 games at AT&T Park. After that, the Giants hit the All-Star break then play three interleague games at Oakland.
“We’re through the hardest part of the schedule, I think,” Belt said about the Giants already playing 42 of their 81 road games, exactly one month before the All-Star Game. “It’s not easy going to the East Coast a lot and having 10-game road trips. We have a lot of games coming up at home and everybody is excited about that.”
Hundley got the Giants going early Sunday with a homer in the first inning, halfway up the pavilion seats in left field for his eighth of the season. Belt followed two innings later with his 12th home run and first since returning from an appendectomy on June 1.
The Dodgers saw their modest five-game win streak come to an end, but they are still 11-3 in June. They went 7-2 on their just-completed homestand and now head to Chicago for a National League Championship Series rematch with the Cubs.
The Giants went 4-6 on their 10-day road trip to Washington, Miami and Los Angeles, and now return home for a 10-game homestand against the Marlins, Padres and Rockies. They stay in the division for a six-game road trip then return for another 10-game homestand.
Sunday’s victory gave the Giants a 16-26 record away from home. They are 19-11 in San Francisco.
“We can’t have this road record, that’s not going to work, so we have to get better there,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “At home, we have to keep up what we have been doing there and hopefully the guys catch their breath and like the home cooking.”
Dodgers rookie pitcher Caleb Ferguson (0-1) gave up four runs on just two hits, the home runs from Hundley and Belt. He struck out six in his third career start, with an unearned run that happened when Gorkys Hernandez reached base on an error by shortstop Enrique Hernandez in front of Belt’s homer.
“Of the three (starts), this was his best outing,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I thought he did a great job of pounding the strike zone, getting some empty swings.”
Former Dodgers left-hander Tony Watson opened the ninth inning for the Giants with a strikeout of Max Muncy before closer Hunter Strickland recorded the final two outs for his 14th save in 17 chances.
Stratton (8-4) entered 0-3 with a 7.88 ERA against the Dodgers, and was roughed up in an April 28 start when he gave up six earned runs over a short 1 1/3 innings, easily his shortest start of the year.
Sunday’s outing was in complete contrast to his previous efforts against the Dodgers.
“It was big,” Stratton said of his outing Sunday. “Definitely the last time was not a pretty one. I have to credit Hundley back there behind the plate. I don’t think I had my best stuff today, especially with fastball command.”
Stratton gave up a first-inning run when Hundley tried to cut down Justin Turner at second base and threw the ball into center field. Max Muncy came home from third base on the error. Otherwise the right-hander was stingy against a Dodgers lineup that entered with 34 home runs in June.
Giants: C Buster Posey, who saw action in all 16 innings of Thursday’s game at Miami, was not in the starting lineup Sunday with what manager Bruce Bochy labeled “general soreness.” SS Brandon Crawford will go on paternity leave Monday for the birth of his fourth child and said that he expects to miss three games.
Dodgers: RHP Tom Koehler had a setback in his recovery from a right shoulder strain and will now have to restart his rehab program, according to manager Dave Roberts. His targeted return has been pushed back to August. LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu had some tightness in his left groin strain and his recent bullpen outing was cut short to 20 pitches. Roberts would not call Ryu’s situation a setback, but would not confirm a July return either.
The Giants will send left-hander Andrew Suarez (2-4, 4.92 ERA) to the mound Monday as the club returns home from its 10-day road trip to face the Miami Marlins. In his second start since coming off the disabled list, RHP Kenta Maeda (4-4, 3.61) could be available for as many as 90 pitches Monday in the opener of a three-game series at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs.