I was sitting on my couch, watching the game with my cat and shaking my head in frustration.
I knew how this inning would end.
Williams would strikeout Kris Bryant in three or four pitches, choosing between his bowling ball of a change-up or his teasy 95 MPH four-seamer to record the out, end the inning, and get the Brewers back up to bat with a chance to win it in the 9th, secure the sweep, and send the Giants on a free-fall down the divisional ladder
“You’re being dramatic,” my cat said, gesturing with her paw to the TV. “Watch.”
She was right.
Kris Bryant took a four pitch walk and stole second by a pinky, before Brandon Belt followed it with a relatively easy-by-Belt’s-standards free bagger.
Not the sexiest rally of all time, but after these last couple of games, I’ll take it, you’ll take it, the Giants took it and they actually did something with it.
Darin Ruf, who had brief and uneventful opportunities with runners on base earlier in the game, drove a 1-1 change-up into the left field corner that brought Bryant home and Belt to third.
I sat up straight, but was still reserved. I knew how fragile a one run lead could be.
I looked to my cat for guidance, comfort, anything.
“Keep watching,” she said.
Thairo Estrada, filling in at second base for Donovan Solano (who is still on the COVID-19 IL), put together one hell of an at-bat. After falling 0-2 in the count he was able to take two tough pitches off the plate, before pumping a change-up into the left bleachers for a home run and a 5-1 lead.
It was a cathartic eighth inning for the Giants offense. In their previous seven games, the Giants as a team were batting .199 with a .627 OPS with runners in scoring position. They were 0 for 2 in the game when Ruf came up to bat in the eighth, unable to create any kind of traffic on the base path against Brewers starter Eric Lauer. It felt like a minor miracle that Ruf and Estrada were able to come through in a high-leverage situation against the reigning Rookie of the Year.
But what set up the late-inning heroics was Logan Webb’s continued excellence on the mound. He went seven complete innings, allowing one run on four hits and zero walks. He matched his career high with 10 Ks and earned a 49 % whiff rate on Brewers’ swings for the night.
That kind of stat line is becoming old news for Logan. He has been dominant since the All-Star break and just finished an August where he was one of the best starters in baseball, logging 4 wins, a 1.41 ERA and 0.97 WHIP.
The Giants’ win today pushed them back onto the now cramped peak of the NL West. The Los Angeles Dodgers will be making their way into Oracle Park for a weekend showdown starting tomorrow. Logan Webb won’t be available to pitch in the series, but he righted the ship going into what will certainly be a tough couple of days. Should be interesting.