Augusta GreenJackets starter Chris Stratton struck out five of the first seven batters he faced, setting the tone for another solid outing from the first-round pick.
Stratton struck out seven to lead the GreenJackets to a 5-1 win over the Kannapolis Intimidators on Thursday night at Lake Olmstead Stadium, giving Augusta its fifth consecutive win.
Stratton worked off a reliable fastball that hit the plate consistently, allowing two walks over 6 2/3 innings. His high strikeout total was in large part to a strong curveball early and good slider late, totaling 11 swinging strikes in the game.
“I felt good. I just tried to establish the fastball early, really just tried to work both sides of the plate,” Stratton said. “I have to do a better job of getting to the glove side but, all in all, I think I pitched pretty well and got out of some jams. The defense was outstanding tonight. I can’t do without them tonight.”
Stratton, considered one of the top prospects in the Giants system out of Mississippi State, has allowed two runs in 16 innings over three starts, striking out 17.
The GreenJackets defense made three highlight-reel plays on the right side in support of Stratton. Charles Jones made two diving catches in right field, and second baseman Travious Relaford turned a grounder deep in the hole into an out.
“Big plays come and go,” GreenJackets manager Mike Goff said. “I don’t expect these guys to make great plays, I expect them to make the routine plays on a consistent basis, and that’s all you ask for. We did that, and we picked up a couple great plays tonight.”
Augusta (10-4) scored two in the first on ground balls through holes in the infield. Matt Duffy singled home his 11th run of the season, followed by an RBI groundout by Ben Turner for a 2-0 lead.
The GreenJackets added an insurance run in the sixth when Turner doubled home a run for his second RBI of the game.
Stratton walked the leadoff batter in the seventh, who reached second on a groundout and scored on an RBI single by Patrick Palmeiro for Kannapolis’ (7-8) only run.
The GreenJackets put two on the board in the eighth on an error and RBI infield single by Eric Sim, giving them a four-run lead that held.
Jesus Galindo and Mitch Delfino each had two hits for Augusta.
Derek Law worked 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Stratton, striking out five.