Logan Webb steals the show in SF Giants’ win over Pirates

SAN FRANCISCO — On a night when the Giants hosted dozens of ring-wearing World Series players to celebrate their 2012 title, it was their pitcher on Saturday that provided the star power.

In one of the best starts of his young career, Logan Webb shone for eight shutout innings to beat the Pirates 2-0.

The win marked the Giants’ second straight win, winning at least two of three games in that series with Pittsburgh, and fifth in their last seven games after losing five of their previous seven. It also drew them within 6.5 games of the Padres, who lost in Washington.

Webb was helped by his defense — Joc Pederson’s catch on the left field wall prevented extra bases and ended the second inning, and Tommy La Stella started a skillful 3-6-3 doubles play to end the fourth — made but also a web gem in itself.

The game ended with Webb lying belly down on the infield dirt and smiling at Pirates second baseman Kevin Newman, whom he narrowly beat to first base in the final of the third inning. First baseman La Stella was caught between trying to hit Newman’s soft dribbler or covering the pocket, so Webb did both. After picking up the ball, Webb sprinted to the pocket and sprawled, placing his glove on the pocket just ahead of Newman.

“When I checked over there, there was nobody there,” Webb said. “I was kind of going under, so I just put my glove out there. … It was one of those awkward pieces where you have to do something in the moment.”

More than any of his nine strikeouts, his ultra-efficient first seven innings, or the base-laden jam he escaped in the eighth, Webb’s dive — or fall, as he puts it — to first base was the talk at the Giants’ clubhouse afterward.

“It was quite a spectacular game,” said manager Gabe Kapler. “I think Tommy can attack that ball a little bit more. … We’d always prefer Logan to stay on his feet. We always want a cleaner game. But it’s also quite entertaining to see a man who’s clearly athletic – quarterback background, home run last year, able to do a lot of things on the field – but it’s nice to see his athleticism comes.

“He came on and got it and made a great play,” said LaMonte Wade Jr., who contributed to both of the Giants’ runs with a leadoff double in the first and a solo home run in the third. “It was tough no man’s land baseball, it was pretty hard for the first baseman to figure out if he was going to get it or not. … Very athletic game. clutch play too.”

In Webb’s only jam of the night, after the Pirates loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, the crowd at Oracle Park stood up. It wasn’t long before the 38,049 on hand exploded as Webb fired a switch past Ben Gamel for the third out of the inning and his ninth strikeout of the night.

Webb said the Friday night audience, most of whom were in attendance to see the pregame ceremony honoring the 2012 World Series champion roster, felt like they were in a playoff environment. To see the real thing, however, the Giants have yet to finish a 6.5-game game in the National League wildcard race.

“You don’t often have that much energy. It was great,” Webb said. “It was fun to watch. Hopefully we’ll start playing baseball a little bit better so we can get that more often.”

Webb didn’t throw more than 16 pitches in any of his first seven innings, taking an 81 pitch count in the eighth and giving him hope he might get a chance in the first full game shutout of his career.

Webb had the chance earlier this season on his first full game shutout after hiding the Phillies for eight innings, but gave up a game-defining home run in the ninth. This time the Giants let closer Camilo Doval finish the ninth for his 17th save.

“I thought[Webb]was doing everything he could, but at that point it was enough,” Kapler said. “It was quite a stressful inning there in the eighth. As you approach that 100 pitch mark you might see 110, 115 and might be making Camillo hot anyway, so I think that was the deciding factor.

The start had added meaning for Webb, who was up against former Giants first-round pick Tyler Beede, one of his best friends in baseball and the official of his wedding.

“He texted me and said this must be the first time two pitchers have gone head-to-head and the other was the officiant at the other’s wedding,” Webb said. “We kind of waved at each other before the game. I’m always happy to see him.”

It didn’t take long for Beede to remind the Giants why they picked him for the assignment after rosters shrank in May. Beede gave up more walks in three (three) innings than Webb did in eight (two). He needed 74 pitches to complete three innings, throwing nearly half of them from the strike zone.

By the time Beede’s night was over, the Giants had all the runs they needed.

For the second night in a row, the offensive contributions came from a player in need of a big game.

After Mike Yastrzemski heated up with a homer and three RBIs to lead Friday’s win, it was Wade who did most of the damage on Saturday night.

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