Bailey makes 1st start count with 1st big league hit

Webb K's 7 while dealing with low back tightness, exits after 6 innings

May 21st, 2023

SAN FRANCISCO -- Switch-hitting catcher Patrick Bailey has been stronger from the left side since being taken by the Giants with the 13th overall pick of the 2020 MLB Draft, but the 23-year-old rookie ended up recording his first Major League hit while batting righty.

Bailey delivered a two-out single to right field off left-hander Tanner Scott to collect the milestone knock in the eighth inning of the Giants’ 1-0 loss to the Marlins on Saturday afternoon at Oracle Park.

Bailey, the Giants’ No. 11 prospect, earned a standing ovation from the crowd of 31,993 after delivering one of only three hits for San Francisco, which saw its four-game winning streak come to an end after being shut out for the fifth time this year.

“It was obviously one of the most special moments of my life and probably career,” Bailey said. “It’s just been really cool. I’m trying to soak everything in.”

Bailey said he plans to personally oversee the safekeeping of his first-hit ball, as his wife forgot it on the field after the young family went out to take photos after the game.

“My wife just left it on the field,” Bailey said. “Someone had to grab it for me. We were taking pictures on the field, and I just started walking in. I think [Giants player and family services coordinator Jeff Wallace] grabbed it and was like, ‘Hey, you might want this.’”

Bailey made his Major League debut as a defensive replacement on Friday night before catching ace right-hander Logan Webb in his first big league start on Saturday. Webb fired six scoreless innings before departing with low back tightness, but he was outdueled by Marlins left-hander Braxton Garrett, who held the Giants to one hit over 6 1/3 scoreless innings

“He was awesome,” Webb said of Bailey. “I think he got me a lot of strikes, that’s for sure. He’s easy to work with. He did really good back there today. That was fun throwing to him.”

Webb said he felt the back issue throughout the game, but it worsened during his final at-bat against Garrett Cooper in the sixth, prompting the Giants to pull him at 91 pitches. Still, he downplayed the injury afterward and said he didn’t expect to undergo further testing for now. 

“I felt it a little bit throughout the game and then the last inning it tightened up a little more,” Webb said. “I was wanting to go back out there -- I think they just didn’t want to push it, really. I’ll be fine.” 

Prior to exiting, Webb managed to deliver his sixth consecutive quality start for the Giants, tied for the third-longest active streak in the Majors. He struck out seven, walked two and allowed only four hits while lowering his ERA to 2.91 over a Major League-high 65 innings this year. 

“It’s not fun to take Logan out when he’s pitching like that, but that was a decision based on his health and wanting to protect him,” manager Gabe Kapler said.

The Marlins scored the lone run of the game in the eighth with the help of a fielding error by third baseman J.D. Davis, who booted a grounder off the bat of Garrett Hampson. Hampson advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Xavier Edwards before scoring the game-winning run on Jon Berti’s RBI single to right field. 

Bailey grounded out in his first two at-bats against Garrett, but he helped generate a late scoring opportunity against Miami’s bullpen in the bottom of the eighth. 

With his wife, Leigha, and baby daughter, Briella, cheering on from the stands, Bailey lined a 1-2 fastball from Scott to the opposite field to give the Giants their first hit since Thairo Estrada’s leadoff single in the first. 

Fellow rookie Bryce Johnson followed with a bunt single to put a pair of runners on with two outs, but right-hander Dylan Floro managed to induce an inning-ending groundout from Estrada to keep the Marlins’ one-run lead intact.

Despite Bailey’s significant splits -- he posted an .851 OPS against right-handed pitching in the Minors last season, compared to a .452 OPS against lefties -- the Giants have encouraged him to stick with switch-hitting for now, which paid dividends on Saturday.

“It is pretty funny,” Bailey said. “We’ve kind of been joking about it with the staff and everything. I’ve been working hard from the right side, and hopefully it continues to show.”