Wednesday, May 22 2024

Webb, Yastrzemski lead way in Giants’ most complete win of season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO — As Nick Ahmed stood at second base in the bottom of the eighth inning and clapped his hands at the home dugout at Oracle Park, the new lights turned off and then flashed. Ahmed’s double had come just a few feet from clearing the wall in left-center, and as it rattled around in front of a white backdrop, there was some confusion inside the ballpark.

It was easy to see how someone could have gotten excited and hit the button to celebrate home runs. The Giants haven’t hit one at home yet, and until Thursday night, they had not won a night game under their new lights.

Ahmed’s double kickstarted a four-run rally that put the Arizona Diamondbacks away for good — and also prevented the lights from being used for closer Camilo Doval, who was warming up the entire time and hopeful that he could finally see his new entrance in action. Doval sat down after Mike Yastrzemski‘s two-run single, but if the Giants keep playing the way they did Thursday, he’ll get plenty of opportunities to run to the mound under a spotlight.

“That was probably as good a game as we’ve played all year,” manager Bob Melvin said after the 5-0 win. “That’s kind of what we’ve been looking for.”

The Giants truly did it all Thursday, and as always, it started with their ace. Logan Webb threw seven innings for a third consecutive start and allowed just two hits.

For most of the night, Webb, as is the norm, got no support. But the Giants broke through in the eighth, with Wilmer Flores coming off the bench for a two-run double and Mike Yastrzemski putting the game away with a two-run single.

It was a hilariously timed rally given the anticipation for the lights, but there was nobody in the home dugout who was complaining as Yastrzemski’s ball shot through the grass. The Giants are desperate for more production from right field, and Melvin has remained firmly behind Yastremski and Austin Slater, both of whom have struggled.

Yastrzemski entered the night with a .121 average and .358 OPS, and he appeared to catch a bad break when an injury forced the Diamondbacks to remove their right-handed starter and go with lefty Logan Allen for most of the night. But Melvin resisted the temptation to go to his bench too early, and in the eighth, with lefty Kyle Nelson on the mound, Yastrzemski worked the count full and ripped a fastball into right.

“These guys are here for a reason,” Melvin said. “Yaz, even if you look back years ago, he hit left-handed pitching as well as he hit right-handed pitching. The first at-bat was a great at-bat for him. It’s looked like he’s more balanced here recently and then he had two really good at-bats after that. He has the ability to do that.

“Not everybody is going to get off to a good start. Sometimes you get off to a bad start. But defensively, the plays he made out there, anytime you’re ahead it’s tough to take him out of the game for any situation because of what he did on the (Gabriel) Moreno ball. There’s a lot of game left in Yaz.”

While Yastrzemski has struggled at the plate, he has remained as steady as ever defensively. He is already at three Defensive Runs Saved through 13 appearances and he made a shoestring catch to prevent a leadoff single in the eighth inning of what was then a one-run game.

The Giants know Yastrzemski is as comfortable in right field at Oracle Park as anyone has ever been, but to continue being patient, they’ll need more at the plate. The single was a big step in the right direction.

“Even the last four or five games I’ve actually felt pretty good, I just didn’t really have anything to show for it,” Yastrzemski said. “To finally get one to find the outfield grass in a bigger moment felt really good.”

Yastrzemski’s hit capped a huge inning for the lineup, but for most of the night, the position players were contributing with their gloves. Ahmed kept it scoreless with a slick grab on a short-hop liner in the first, and Jung Hoo Lee went a long way to rob Jake McCarthy of a double later in the game. It was one of the better defensive efforts of the year for a rebuilt lineup that is full of players known for their gloves.

“The defense in general today was awesome,” said Webb, who got 13 outs on the ground.

This was the kind of game the Giants had in mind when they went big in the offseason. They have recommitted to defense, and Webb leads what could eventually be the best rotation in the National League. There was just one thing missing Thursday, although Ahmed nearly took care of that.

His ball to left was a rocket, but the Giants still have not cleared the wall in seven games at Oracle Park. That surprised Melvin, who otherwise felt nothing but positives after the Giants won back-to-back games for just the second time.

“We haven’t hit a homer at home yet?” he asked. “Alright, we’ll work on that.”

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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