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Giants shut out by Marlins to end win streak



© D. Ross Cameron | 2023 May 20

In an afternoon in which hits were scarce, a lone Miami single was the difference. 

The Marlins manufactured a run off Tyler Rogers with a fielding error, sacrifice bunt and slapped single. That eighth-inning mini rally was all the Marlins needed. 

San Francisco (21-24) mustered three hits, which included a span of seven consecutive hitless innings. SF’s two-through-seven hitters went 0-for-19 with one walk and eight strikeouts, mostly struggling against Miami starter Braxton Garrett.

Logan Webb improved his ERA to 2.91 with six scoreless frames and rookie Patrick Bailey collected his first Major League hit, but the Giants’ offense couldn’t continue its strong showing. The 1-0 loss that took 2 hours and 16 minutes halted an SF four-game winning streak. 

“With respect to the way we swung the bat, I think we could do a better job than we did collectively as a team today,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said postgame. “Sometimes, a guy comes out and hits all his spots, which he was. We weren’t able to string anything together. At the end of the day, we obviously didn’t get enough hits to win the baseball game today.”

The game unfolded at a torrid pace. Both teams mustered a single hit and a single walk through the first three innings. 

In the fourth, Webb surrendered two singles, but escaped with an inning-ending double play. That defensive maneuver started with J.D. Davis throwing from his knees to second base, where shortstop Casey Schmitt had sprinted over to cover. 

That brilliant, run-saving play is indicative of a vastly improved defensive unit. Last year, San Francisco ranked 30th in Fangraphs’ catch-all defensive metric. So far this season, the unit ranks sixth

Much of that improvement comes from continuity in the outfield corners and more athleticism up the middle. Schmitt and, if things go well, Bailey should help in that area. 

“I think it’s an adjustment we’ve made as a group,” Kapler said pregame. “We’ve recognized that one of the strengths of our team is our starting pitching. To some degree or another, our bullpen too. With that, I think it’s important to protect those pitchers. We’ve seen the appreciation from pitchers when we make plays behind them.” 

The pitcher the Giants’ defense protected Saturday, Webb, continued to build on a strong foundation to begin his season. After his last start, Webb said he finally found a slider grip that allows him to spin the ball, something he hasn’t been confident in over the past two years — a shocking admission for a pitcher as successful in that span as he has. 

Webb threw 19 sliders against the Marlins, generating five whiffs on nine swings. Just one of Miami’s four hits off Webb came against a slider. 

Webb finished with six scoreless innings, striking out seven and walking two. He leads MLB with 65 innings pitched in 2023. Webb left after 91 pitches due to low back tightness, but the discomfort doesn’t sound too serious.

Rookie catcher Patrick Bailey joined a list that includes names like Buster Posey, Stephen Vogt, Michael Papierski and Chadwick Tromp of catchers who have worked with Webb. The 24-year-old and 26-year-old hugged in the dugout after Webb’s outing was over. 

More strong defense, namely Thairo Estrada making a leaping throw over the middle in the seventh, kept Miami scoreless. But the Giants were still stuck on one hit — Estrada’s lined single to lead off the game. 

Even when Miami yanked starter Braxton Garrett — who allowed two base runners while striking out eight in 6.1 innings — after just 76 pitches, the Giants offense couldn’t kick into gear. 

That is, until Bailey recorded his first Major League hit, going the other way on a Tanner Scott fastball for a two-out single in the eighth.

“Obviously one of the most special moments of my life, probably,” Bailey said postgame. Definitely of my career.”

Bailey became SF’s second runner in scoring position of the entire game after Bryce Johnson placed a bunt single. But Estrada grounded out to end the threat. 

In the Giants’ previous four games — all wins — they scored 21 runs on 36 hits. Just six of those went for extra bases, and one cleared the fences. For a club that scores the most percentage of its runs via the long ball, that level of situational hitting was an impressive aside. 

But the Giants hardly gave themselves any chances to deliver on Saturday.