The Giants handed rookie Logan Webb a win in his debut tonight, thanks in large part to Brandon Belt, Scooter Gennett and Kevin Pillar. Belt had a grand slam on his way to six RBI tonight, Gennett scored three runs, and Pillar also scored three runs and was 5-for-5 on the night, a career high.
Rocklin native Webb had a rough first inning. He struggled with finding the strike zone, missing down and in a lot. He gave up a single to Jarrod Dyson after battling his way to a full count. Wilmer Flores, noted Giants nuisance, followed that up with a double (one of four hits on the night) to score Dyson. After getting Eduardo Escobar to ground out and striking out David Peralta, Adam Jones hit a ball to Longoria, who recorded an error after a delayed throw to Belt allowed Flores to score unearned.
That would be all the Diamondbacks would get from Webb, however, as he went five innings, allowing five hits, one earned run, and a walk and striking out seven. His family was in attendance, and they helpfully brought their own “K” signs to help him keep track. Webb favored his four-seam fastball, which sat in the mid-90s, but he utilized his changeup to great effect to fool batters early in the game.
Seven strikeouts through four innings for Logan Webb. He's still hitting 94-95 and getting a lot of swings on his slider: pic.twitter.com/efnXZVY71S— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) August 18, 2019
The Giants, who had gone down in order in the first, came back with a vengeance in the second, fired up to support their rookie pitcher. Alex Dickerson walked, after which Gennett had a 12-pitch battle that ended in him reaching on a fielder’s choice/error by Flores. Pillar got his first hit of the night that got through the hands of Jake Lamb and landed just inside the foul line, loading the bases for Brandon Belt.
Friends, let me pause here to bask in the moment. The last time Brandon Belt hit a grand slam, I was driving. I pulled my car over at the beginning of his at-bat to send a tweet that said “Give me a Brandon Belt grand slam or give me death.” After which Belt, of course, hit a grand slam. As Belt came up to the plate tonight, I found that tweet and sent it out again. Not two seconds later, he hit his second career grand slam. I’m not saying I caused it, but I’m also not NOT saying that.
As I was heartily enjoying watching Belt trot around the bases and the smiles on his teammates’ faces, I had a brief moment of panic as I remembered the rest of the game in which he hit his first grand slam. He hit another home run in that game and the Giants still managed to lose. 2017 was wild and it clearly left a scar.
That wasn’t even the end of it, though. After Belt’s slam, Brandon Crawford hit a ball to a diving Flores, who threw to Lamb but pulled him off the base, allowing Crawford to reach safely. Mike Yastrzemski hit a base hit to shallow left, and Stephen Vogt singled to re-load the bases for Longoria and if you say you weren’t quietly hoping for a second grand slam in the inning, you’re a dirty liar. It was not to be, however, but Longoria did score Crawford on a long sac fly that caused starting pitcher Taylor Clarke to be pulled from the game. Matt Andriesse came in in long relief and got Dickerson out on one pitch to ending the inning.
After that, Webb settled down, pitching with a sizeable lead that would last for his entire outing. He was pulled after the fifth, though, where he was sitting at 93 pitches.
The Giants had added a run in the third after Pillar doubled, followed by a balk that advanced him to third, where Belt hit a bloop single in the right to bring him in. That inning also featured Webb being walked in four pitches, which caused the crowd to boo Andriesse, but made the Webb family even more happy than they already were. (And I can’t say I’ve ever seen a more enthusiastic rookie debut family. They brought their own props and signs and the biggest smiles in the park.)
They added on again in the sixth inning. Oddly enough, with the bases once again loaded for Longoria. This time he grounded into a double play that scored Austin Slater, who entered on a double switch, ultimately replacing Dickerson in the field and bringing in Andrew Suárez.
Suárez and Travis Bergen both got roughed up for two runs apiece in the seventh and eighth, giving Giants fans flashbacks to last night’s meltdown. But the Giants matched them run for run, scoring two runs in each inning as well, padding the lead and causing the Torey Lovullo to throw in the towel, as he moved catcher Alex Avila to the mound to pitch the ninth. While it wasn’t the only clean inning of the night for the Diamondbacks, it was certainly the most surprising.
Also surprising was Escobar ending the game by trying to stretch a double into a triple for the final out. But I guess go big or go home? Or both, as the case ended up being.
The Giants won their third straight of the series and go for the sweep tomorrow.