What we learned as Webb dominates, bats wake up in win vs. Rays


What we learned as Webb dominates, bats wake up in win vs. Rays originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

As Nick Ahmed dug into the batter’s box in the top of the sixth inning, Thairo Estrada walked past Logan Webb in the visiting dugout at Tropicana Field. Webb broke into a wide grin as he watched his teammates celebrate a big inning. That’s not something he has been able to do often.

The Giants scored three runs in the sixth and kept going, blasting the Tampa Bay Rays 11-2 after days of frustration for the lineup. It was a shocking display in part because of the fact it came behind Webb, who has inherited Matt Cain’s hard-luck ways.

The staff ace doesn’t usually need much support, and on Saturday, a couple of early homers did the job. Thairo Estrada homered twice and the Giants had five overall after going 10 days without a slow trot. LaMonte Wade Jr., Jorge Soler and Matt Chapman also homered.

Webb did the rest, allowing just one run over seven innings. He picked up his first win of the year in a game that was so lopsided that the Rays let catcher Ben Rortvedt take over in the eighth and ninth.

Thairo Time

This Tampa-Miami trip is a homecoming for three Giants hitters — Soler, Estrada and Wilmer Flores — who live and train there, and so far Estrada has looked awfully comfortable at the Trop. Estrada had his first multi-hit game of the year on Friday night and hit a no-doubter in the fourth inning Saturday to pick up his first homer in two weeks. The second blast gave him his first two-homer game since last June 11.

Estrada’s first homer was the first for the Giants since Soler’s impressive shot at Dodger Stadium on April 3. They went 265 plate appearances between home runs and seven full games. The seven-game homerless streak was their longest since 2014 and the longest for any MLB team since the Kansas City Royals also went seven games last June.

Same Old Logan

Webb entered the day with a 4.86 ERA, but he has been here before. He was 0-4 with a 4.94 ERA through four starts last year and ended up finishing second in the Cy Young voting, posting a 3.04 ERA the rest of the way. The Giants are hopeful that Saturday was the start of a similar run.

Webb gave up six hits and walked just one on Saturday. He got a couple of double plays and 12 outs on the ground overall, including one on his final pitch. With Webb approaching 100 pitches and two runners on, Bob Melvin came out for a chat. He let Webb stay in the game and try to strand his own runners, and he got a grounder to the right side to cap his best start of the year.

Late Afternoon LaMonte

Wade quietly has gotten off to a tremendous start, and on Saturday, the power finally showed up.

Right-hander Ryan Pepiot grooved a 3-2 changeup in the fifth and Wade hit a high fly ball that dropped into the first row of seats as two Rays outfielders jumped at the wall, giving the Giants a 4-1 lead. The homer was his first since last Sept. 24 against the Dodgers.

Wade also scored the first run of the game, coming around from first on Michael Conforto’s double. He finished the day with a .368 average and .478 on-base percentage that would rank fourth in the league if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. His OPS is up to 1.004.

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