'I want the 9th': Stellar Webb falls short of CG

May 31st, 2022

PHILADELPHIA -- As Logan Webb sat in the Giants’ dugout after the eighth inning, manager Gabe Kapler came up and gave him a handshake to congratulate him on a job well done. The gesture proved a bit premature. Webb had just completed eight innings of two-run ball on 98 pitches, but he still wasn’t ready to give up the ball.

“He told me I was out of the game, and I told him, ‘No,’” Webb said. “I said, ‘If we score, I want the ninth.’”

After Evan Longoria delivered a tiebreaking home run off Phillies closer Corey Knebel in the top of the ninth, Webb jogged back out to the mound with a one-run lead and a chance to throw his first career complete game, but he ended up surrendering a game-tying home run to Kyle Schwarber on his second pitch of the inning, bringing his afternoon to an end.

Still, Webb’s batterymate, Curt Casali, ensured that the 25-year-old right-hander’s brilliant effort didn’t go for naught, launching a go-ahead two-run home run in the 10th inning to help the Giants earn a 5-4 win over the Phillies in Monday’s series opener at Citizens Bank Park.

“I wanted to win that game so bad,” Casali said. “Just for what he did, being able to come out for the ninth and have that heartbreak ending to his day. But man, he pitched well today. That’s vintage Logan Webb.”

Webb struck out a season-high 10 while giving up three runs over eight-plus innings, with all of the damage coming on a trio of solo shots from Nick Castellanos, Rhys Hoskins and Schwarber. The outing snapped Webb’s streak of 52 consecutive starts without allowing multiple home runs, which had dated to the second game of his Major League career on Aug. 25, 2019.

Wilmer Flores, Longoria and Casali each homered to account for all five of the Giants’ runs and pick up Webb, who lowered his ERA to 3.52 over 10 starts this year. Webb’s changeup was particularly sharp on Monday, resulting in seven of his 10 punchouts in the third double-digit strikeout game of his career.

“He had everything working,” Casali said. “I know he’s been pretty frustrated not getting swings and misses, as have I. But it just seemed like one of those days where if they hit it on the ground, it went to somebody. With the exception of a couple of mistakes that they hit really well, he was absolutely as advertised today.”

The Giants’ offense looked sluggish early against Phillies right-hander Kyle Gibson, who opened his outing with five shutout innings before yielding a two-run blast to Flores that tied the game, 2-2, in the sixth. Longoria then gave the Giants their first lead of the game with two outs in the ninth, driving a 1-0 fastball from Knebel out to left-center field for his fifth home run in his last five games.

With a pair of lefty bats -- Schwarber and Bryce Harper -- due to hit for the Phillies in the bottom of the ninth, Kapler had reliever Jarlín García warming in the bullpen, though he ultimately decided to stick with Webb, who had retired 13 in a row following Hoskins’ homer in the fourth.

“Ultimately, Webby really wanted the ball,” Kapler said. “That’s the reason we made that decision. He seemingly had his best stuff in the sixth inning, seventh inning, eighth inning -- so it felt like the right play to give him that opportunity. We were prepared with the bullpen if we needed to go there. I think his teammates really wanted to see him go back out and get that opportunity. He earned it.”

Schwarber prevented Webb from going the distance, though, hammering a slider at the bottom of the zone out to dead center to tie the game, 3-3.

“It felt like my game,” Webb said. “I had thrown the first eight. We were up and I wanted to win. There’s nothing that I enjoy more than that. I kind of wanted it. It sucks that I couldn’t finish it.”

Kapler responded by bringing in Dominic Leone, who gave up a two-out single to Castellanos that put the potential winning run on for the Phillies. The speedy Roman Quinn came in to pinch-run for Castellanos, but he was thrown out trying to steal second base by Casali to end the inning, sending the game into extras. Casali then produced the decisive blow with his bat, blasting a two-run shot to left field off reliever Andrew Bellatti to put the Giants in front for good.

“That was a no-doubter,” Webb said. “That was sick. … Every one of us loves that guy to death. It’s really cool to see the work he’s put in and the success that he’s been having right now.”