Webb extends scoreless streak to career-high 19 innings

April 24th, 2024

SAN FRANCISCO -- It’s only April, but already seems to be in midseason form for the Giants.

Webb tossed eight scoreless innings in his longest start of the year as the Giants beat the Mets, 5-1, to secure a series victory on Tuesday night at Oracle Park.

The ace right-hander allowed only six hits while walking one and striking out four, lowering his ERA to 2.33 over a Major League-high 38 2/3 innings in 2024. Webb pushed his scoreless streak to a career-high 19 innings and has now completed at least seven frames in each of his last four starts, going 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA (three earned runs over 29 innings) over that span.

“It’s huge for any team to have a guy like that,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Those are the kind of guys that step up for you. That’s what aces are made of.”

Webb, leaning on his usual sinker-changeup combination, recorded 15 groundouts, the second most by a pitcher in a game this season after the Braves’ Max Fried, who forced 17 against the Marlins on Tuesday.

“You saw it from the beginning: All the ground-ball outs kind of tell you what’s going on with him,” Melvin said. “Low pitch count. Weak contact. That’s kind of when he’s at his best. It’s never really about strikeouts with him. It’s about early-count weak contact, and that’s what we saw basically the entire game.”

The Mets put some pressure on Webb in the eighth after Brandon Nimmo drew a two-out walk and Starling Marte reached on a single, but he managed to escape the jam by getting Francisco Lindor to ground out on his 106th and final pitch of the night.

“Bob told me I would have gone out for the ninth if I was under 100 pitches,” Webb said. “I agreed with him on that, to be honest. I tried to get a strikeout at the end of the eighth inning, and I saw the pitch count. I wish I kept it under 100 there and went out for that last inning. One of these days.”

Tyler Rogers replaced Webb in the ninth, though he couldn’t keep the shutout intact after surrendering an RBI forceout to DJ Stewart that cut the Giants’ lead to 5-1. The late threat prompted Melvin to bring in closer Camilo Doval, who struck out Joey Wendle and coaxed a groundout from Omar Narváez to leave a pair of runners stranded and end the game.

Webb’s stellar effort allowed the Giants to win back-to-back games for only the third time this season. They’ll send reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell to the mound on Wednesday afternoon as they attempt to make it three in a row and pull off their first sweep of the year.

Webb spent most of the night locked in a pitchers’ duel with Mets right-hander Luis Severino, who didn’t allow a hit through his first four innings before the Giants finally broke through in the fifth.

Former Met Michael Conforto led off the inning with a bloop single to left field that dropped right in front of a sliding Jeff McNeil to give the Giants their first baserunner of the night.

Matt Chapman followed with another single to put a pair of runners on for Thairo Estrada, who bounced an RBI single through the left side to break a scoreless tie. Mike Yastrzemski kept the single parade going with another base hit to shallow center field, driving in two more runs to stake Webb a 3-0 lead.

Yastrzemski added another insurance run with an RBI single in the Giants’ two-run seventh, lifting his batting average to .321 (9-for-28) over his last 10 games.

The Giants have now scored 21 runs over Webb’s last three starts, a welcome trend considering they’ve struggled to support the Rocklin, Calif., native in the past. With his bats finally clicking, Webb has been able to focus on what he does best: eating up as many innings as possible for his team.

“You guys have heard me talk about it a million times,” Webb said. “That’s the goal, to get to 200 [innings] hopefully every single [season] that I’m able to pitch. It’s the same this year. But yeah, it’s been a good stretch. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep going with it.”