SAN DIEGO (AP) — Chris Stratton is the San Francisco Giants’ de facto No. 1 starter because of injuries, and boy did he pitch like it Thursday night.
Stratton and reliever Derek Law combined on a one-hitter in shutting down the San Diego Padres 7-0.
Stratton allowed San Diego’s only hit, a one-out single in the third inning by pitcher Clayton Richard, who was pinch-hitting for starter Bryan Mitchell. Richard was doubled off after Franchy Cordero lined out to shortstop.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time a team’s lone hit was by a pitcher who did not start the game since June 28, 1935, when Pittsburgh’s Mace Brown did it against the Chicago Cubs.
“That wasn’t too long ago,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy joked. “That’s an odd one, isn’t it? If he doesn’t get that hit, he’s pitching. He’s going out there until he (gives up) a hit because he was all right with the pitch count.”
Hunter Pence’s broken-bat, two-run bloop single highlighted a three-run first inning and that was enough to allow Stratton (1-1) to settle in for a career-high seven innings.
“When you get the three runs early it just makes it a lot easier as a pitcher to go out there and pound the zone,” said Stratton, who threw 101 pitches. “Give the offense credit to come out tonight and put some runs up early and make it real comfortable.”
Giving up the only hit to a pitcher “is just part of the game,” Stratton said. “Good swing by him.”
Richard hit a three-run homer at Colorado on Monday night in a 7-6 win.
Stratton struck out four, walked three and retired his final eight batters. The only time a runner got into scoring position against him was when he walked Freddy Galvis and Carlos Asuaje with one out in the fifth. Stratton then had a 12-pitch at-bat against Austin Hedges, who flied out to left.
Law, recalled from Triple-A Sacramento before the game, threw two perfect innings.
It was the Giants’ third shutout. The Padres have been blanked twice.
Stratton “put on a clinic on pitching tonight,” Bochy said. “He had all four pitches going and mixed them up.”
San Francisco’s top three pitchers, Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, are on the disabled list.
“Now he’s one of our guys,” Bochy said of Stratton. “He was coming in as the No. 4 starter of this club. Now that makes him the No. 1 guy. He can do that. He can handle it. He could have gone back out if the game was a little closer. I think he’s ready to take that on as far as going deeper in the game.”
San Diego manager Andy Green said the Padres’ poor approach did them in.
“Us, swinging outside the strike zone. Us, more than anything,” Green said. “We didn’t take good at-bats out there today at all. I don’t think at any point in time today you can look at our at-bats and think they were good. This was not a good baseball game. I don’t think we did a lot very well today.”
The Giants, who lost all three series at Petco Park last season, chased Mitchell (0-2) after three innings. Mitchell was wild again, walking five to give him 14 in three starts. He allowed three runs and four hits while striking out two.
Mitchell loaded the bases with one out in the first on two walks and a single before Evan Longoria brought in the first run with a fielder’s choice. Mitchell walked Brandon Crawford to load the bases again before Pence sent a single to right to bring in two more runs.
The Giants scored four unearned runs in the sixth off Colten Brewer, who was making his major league debut. Two runs came in on third baseman Christian Villanueva’s throwing error on Andrew McCutcheon’s two-out, bases-loaded grounder, which was followed by Buster Posey’s two-run double.
Mitchell, acquired from the New York Yankees in an offseason trade, “has got work to do,” Green said.
“There’s a lot to like when it’s driven down in the zone — you saw that in the Houston game. You’re not going to walk five guys in three innings in the major leagues and be successful. The challenge is out in front of him. We believe in his stuff. We believe in what he can do. It’s time to do it,” he added.
With runners on first and third and one out in the third, Hedges, the Padres’ catcher, sprinted several feet and made a diving catch of a pop bunt by Gregor Blanco and then doubled Crawford off first.
Bochy said closer Mark Melancon, on the disabled list since March 28, received a stem-cell injection to treat the pronator in his right forearm. Bochy said Melancon received the shot from Dr. Joshua Hackel at Dr. James Andrews’ clinic in Pensacola, Florida.
Giants: LHP Ty Blach (1-1, 4.11 ERA) is scheduled to make his fourth start of the season Friday night against San Diego.
Padres: RHP Tyson Ross (1-1, 5.25) is scheduled to make his third start.
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