By AJ Cassavell and Jonathan Hawthorne
SAN FRANCISCO -- A day before the Giants were set to say goodbye to veteran Matt Cain, Chris Stratton once again showed he's a worthy candidate to fill Cain's spot in next year's rotation.The rookie right-hander turned in 6 2/3 strong innings to power the Giants to an 8-0 triumph over the Padres on Friday.
"He's made a really big statement, I think, if you look at his body of work," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Just watching him pound the strike zone. … He finished up on a great note tonight."
Besides a win to open the final series of the year, the victory ensured the Giants won't lose 100 games this season. Stratton pulled his season record to 4-4 and lowered his ERA to 2.27 over his final eight starts of the season. Stratton's recent showings -- combined with his unshakable approach -- could make him the perfect No. 5 starter for next year's rotation.
"It's always nice to end on a good note," Stratton said. "I hate that our season has ended up the way it has and we don't have that playoff taste. But it's a good feeling going into next season. Hopefully I can remember everything I've done this year and use it next year."
Brandon Crawford recorded three RBIs, Buster Posey roped three run-scoring doubles and Joe Panik went 4-for-5 to back Stratton in an offensive breakout night. The Giants also went 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position and notched 17 hits, one off their season high.
"You get a taste of what we were -- or what we could be when you see these guys coming through the way they did," Bochy said. "Some guys had some big nights with clutch hits."
The Giants used a four-run fourth to displace Padres starter Jordan Lyles (1-5) and hand San Diego its fifth consecutive loss. Lyles, an impending free agent, allowed a season-high 10 hits over 3 2/3 innings while striking out five batters. Carlos Asuaje and Cory Spangenberg provided the bulk of San Diego's offense, with two hits apiece.
"It was a frustrating game," said Padres manager Andy Green. "... I just want to see the guys bounce back over the next couple days."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Wild deuces: Batting cleanup, Posey hit three doubles for just the third time in his career. His doubles, which provided him three RBIs and matched a career-high mark, came in the first, fourth and sixth innings. His ground-rule double in the fourth chased Lyles from the game.
Just out of reach:Hunter Pence began a furious two-out rally in the fourth with a towering fly ball to center. Manuel Margot jumped at the wall but couldn't reel in the potential inning-ending fly ball. Pence's shot -- which traveled 401 feet according to Statcast™ -- glanced off Margot's glove and dropped, allowing the San Francisco right fielder to easily coast into third. After Pence's hit, the Giants mashed together four runs.
Margot -- an otherwise excellent center fielder -- has struggled a bit on plays at the wall, specifically when he attempts to use both hands to make the catch.
"It's just really hard to go into the wall with two hands to catch a baseball," Green said. "You just have to allow yourself the freedom to go up with one. We talked about that on the bench today. As we go into the offseason, that's definitely a focal point."
"If it works out, I would love to be a part of it next season." -- Lyles, on the possibility of returning to San Diego
"It's nice to have a young man like this come up and make some noise to where he wants to be in this rotation right now. I don't know what's going to happen, but he certainly has done his part." --Bochy, on Stratton's 2018 outlook
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Lyles is only the second starter this season to throw 102 pitches without making it through the fourth inning. Arizona's Taijuan Walker needed 103 pitches to make it through 3 2/3 frames earlier this week against Miami. Afterward, Lyles summed up his night rather succinctly: "Way too many pitches, not enough innings."
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
For a moment, Yangervis Solarte's third-inning double appeared destined to plate the Padres' first run. Wil Myers, who had reached on a single, slid into the plate well ahead of Nick Hundley's tag attempt, but was ruled out for missing the base. The Padres opted to challenge the play, but a review determined the call on the field stands.
WHAT'S NEXT Padres: The Padres have expressed interest in bringing back right-hander Jhoulys Chacin this offseason. Earlier this week, Chacin confirmed the interest is mutual. He'll make his final start of 2017 at 1:05 p.m. PT Saturday in San Francisco.
Giants: Right-hander Matt Cain will take the mound at AT&T Park one final time in Saturday's 1:05 p.m. PT game. This week, he announced his plans to retire after a 13-year career with the Giants. He owns a 3.20 ERA in 38 career games (37 starts) against the Padres.