Giants edge Dodgers on Belli's unreal airmail

July 28th, 2021

Different turf, same drama.

The Giants-Dodgers rivalry picked up right where it left off from last week’s intense showdown at Dodger Stadium, with San Francisco rallying for a 2-1 win behind an egregious throwing error by first baseman Cody Bellinger in Tuesday night’s series opener at Oracle Park.

With the game tied, 1-1, in the bottom of the eighth, the Giants staged a comeback against Dodgers reliever Blake Treinen, who opened the inning by issuing back-to-back walks to and . Darin Ruf followed with a bouncer to second baseman Max Muncy, but Yastrzemski alertly began retreating back toward first base to avoid running into a potential double play.

Muncy responded by throwing to Bellinger, who retired Ruf at first, pump-faked to second and then tried to fire to third to get Posey. But Bellinger, who started at first base to help ease his return from a hamstring injury, airmailed the throw into the protective netting behind the Giants’ dugout, allowing Posey to score the go-ahead run. Bellinger admitted afterward that it was a “horrible throw” that simply slipped out of his hand and sailed high.

“I thought it was a smart baserunning play by Yaz,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Obviously, he doesn’t want to run into an out right in front of him and set up an easy double play there on Ruf’s ground ball. I think what you want to do there is just give your team every chance to score a run, and in this particular chance, give the opposing defense the chance to have to throw the ball around a little bit.”

"Obviously, it felt fortunate,” Posey said. “You've got a really tough guy in Treinen on the mound, and obviously a great team over there. You get a break like that, you take it."

Jake McGee worked a scoreless ninth to convert his 21st save of the year and extend the Giants’ lead in the National League West to three games with three days left to go until Friday’s 1 p.m. PT Trade Deadline.

The Giants have now won seven of their last 10 games against the Dodgers to even the season series, 7-7, and improve to a Major League-best 63-37, tied for the third-best mark in San Francisco history through 100 games.

“It kind of felt like a playoff-type vibe,” right-hander said. “These games have been unbelievable between us. I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon.”

At 24, Webb is the youngest player on the Giants’ roster and relatively inexperienced compared to many of his veteran peers, but he’s already shown the ability to step up in big spots. In his fourth start since returning from the injured list, Webb delivered six innings of one-run ball, lowering his ERA to 3.36 on the season and 1.54 over his last six starts.

“I think his confidence is just growing each outing,” Posey said. “I think you can see that there’s belief on his part that he belongs, and that can be a powerful thing sometimes, because the stuff is there.”

Webb didn’t allow a hit through his first four innings before giving up a leadoff single to Bellinger in the fifth. Bellinger advanced to second on a groundout and then scored on Billy McKinney’s RBI single to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead, though the Giants caught a break when McKinney was thrown out while trying to stretch a single into a double.

Webb, who is still building back up after missing over a month with a right shoulder strain, exited after allowing three hits -- all singles -- while walking one and striking out five in the 80-pitch effort.

The Giants' offense finally came alive in the bottom of the sixth against left-hander Julio Urías, who surrendered a leadoff double to Austin Slater, followed by a game-tying single to Posey.

The Dodgers threatened in the eighth, as a bloop single by Luke Raley and a double by Chris Taylor put runners on second and third with one out against Tyler Rogers. Kapler trotted out for a mound visit, but he ultimately decided to stick with Rogers against Muncy, who entered Tuesday batting .317 with eight homers over 13 games against the Giants this year.

Still, Muncy subsequently tapped a soft grounder to Ruf, who fired a perfect strike to Posey to get the out at home. Rogers then induced a flyout from Turner to escape the jam.

The 30-year-old submariner, who surrendered a walk-off home run to Will Smith in a gut-punch loss at Dodger Stadium last week, celebrated the moment with a subtle fist pump as he walked off the mound.

“I think that was smart on Kap’s part, because my initial reaction was probably not to pitch to [Muncy],” Posey said. “As we went out there, it was pretty evident that Rog felt confident. That was obviously a pivotal point in the game.”