In a battle of two starting pitchers destined for Cy Young ballots, the one that got just a sliver of run support triumphed.
Blake Snell, the Cy Young Award frontrunner, extended his scoreless streak to 19 innings and set a franchise record with his 23rd straight start allowing three or fewer runs.
Logan Webb, the face of the Giants franchise, pitched three more innings more than his matchup, adding nine to his MLB-leading total and lasting long enough for the Giants to finally score a couple runs for him.
Webb hugged Gabe Kapler as he walked off the field after his second career complete game. The starter allowed one run, riding an eighth-inning rally to his 11th victory of the year. With seven strikeouts in the game, Webb out-dueled the Cy Young Award favorite in the process.
“I thought it was his most dominant outing of the year,” Kapler said postgame. “Everything was off the barrel, everything was on the ground…totally in control.”
With the 2-1 win, the Giants (78-79) brought San Diego’s tragic number to one. Although finishing ahead of the Padres in the National League West would only be a moral victory at this point, the Giants inched ahead of them and into third place in the division standings.
Even after taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning, the Padres displayed some of the play that got them here — below .500 despite the third-highest payroll. On a routine line drive, Fernando Tatis Jr. got doubled up at second base to end the inning.
Earlier in the inning, an unsuspecting Juan Soto got drilled by a foul tip while the former National was warming up in the on-deck circle. Though Soto was fine and remained in the game, it was the type of moment fit for a team in which everything has gone wrong.
After Monday’s result, the Padres are 7-23 in games decided by one run.
Later in the game, Soto took an automatic strike for a clock violation before striking out to end the third inning, flipping his bat in disgust. That got Webb through three frames in just 37 pitches.
Webb was so economical, he used two fewer pitches through five innings than Snell did for four. But Snell, a strikeout specialist with a walk problem, consistently stranded runners with punchouts. Through five innings, Snell delivered 20 more pitches than Webb, but struck out six compared to the Rocklin native’s four.
J.D. Davis and Mitch Haniger went down looking. Thairo Estrada, Heliot Ramos and Tyler Fitzgerald waved at strike three. The last pitch Snell threw — an 83 mph diving curveball — got Patrick Bailey to check swing for strike three and end the sixth inning.
Webb needed just four pitches in the sixth, thanks to a slick double play up the middle from Thairo Estrada and Marco Luciano, to get through the heart of San Diego’s order. He threw three changeups in the frame, indicative of his overall, changeup-heavy usage.
But run support has been an issue for the Giants all season in Webb games. That only got exacerbated against Snell. In his past six games after Monday, Snell has allowed just two runs.
“It’s kind of hard to try to go pitch-for-pitch with him,” Webb said postgame. “He’s going to win the Cy Young, he’s been the best pitcher in baseball this year…it’s always impressive to watch him go out there and do his thing.”
Snell’s outing in Oracle marked his ninth consecutive quality start — a category Webb actually leads baseball in. He has been consistently excellent, with an MLB-best 2.25 ERA to prove it, but hasn’t pitched more than seven innings in a game all year.
Against Snell, the Giants’ lack of scoring wasn’t for a lack of trying. The Giants stacked their lineup against Snell with both right-handed hitters and rookies. Austin Slater, the platoon aficionado, doubled and went 2-for-2 with a walk against Snell, but nobody else did damage. Ramos, Fitzgerald, Luis Matos, Patrick Bailey and Marco Luciano combined to go 0-for-11 with four strikeouts and two walks (both by Luciano) against the Padres starter.
Webb bought his offense as much time as he could. To get through the eighth, the ace induced an inning-ending double play to Tatis, screaming “Let’s Go!” afterward.
Almost as if they listened to Webb, the offense got going. Luciano doubled and Joc Pederson got intentionally walked to load the bases against righty Robert Suarez. Then with two outs, Michael Conforto came off the bench to poke the go-ahead double down the left-field line.
Scattered cheers emanated from the crowd of 28,557 as Webb climbed the dugout steps for the ninth inning. Kapler said Webb’s efficiency made sending him back out for the final inning a no-brainer. Yet pair of singles to start the inning brought Webb’s pitch count over 100 and inspired action in SF’s bullpen.
But Webb got the first out on a soft grounder to Fitzgerald. In front of a standing ovation, LaMonte Wade Jr. went home on another chopper in time for the second out.
Then two in scoring position still, Jurickson Profar chopped into a routine groundout — the 15th Webb generated. For the second time this year, he got to stand on the mound and slap hands with his teammates after recording the 27th out.
“Exactly what he needed, at exactly the right time,” Kapler said. “Kind of felt like a Cy Young outing.”