SAN FRANCISCO — After delivering a gem against the Rockies on Thursday night, Logan Webb received a universal piece of advice from his Giants teammates: Hit the weight room.
Webb struck out eight over six scoreless innings to lead San Francisco to a 7-0 blowout win at Oracle Park, but he fell a few inches shy of hitting his first career grand slam during the Giants’ six-run fourth inning against Rockies right-hander Germán Márquez.
“In [batting practice], I try to hit the ball as far as I can and everyone sees that,” Webb said. “I joke around saying I’m going to hit a home run, and I almost did. They’re kind of giving it back to me right now.”
The 24-year-old right-hander was forced to settle for a 399-foot, two-run single, all while extending a recent stretch of dominance that helped the Giants win their fifth in a row and increase their lead for first place in the National League West to a season-high five games over the Dodgers.
Webb posted a 5.34 ERA over his first seven starts of the year, but he’s developed into arguably the Giants’ best starter since returning from a right shoulder strain last month, going 5-0 with a 1.53 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 53 innings over his last 10 outings. Only Mets ace Jacob deGrom (1.35 ERA) has a better mark over that span.
“Ever since he came off the IL, he’s been an absolute gem on the mound and a bulldog,” said Curt Casali, who has now caught eight of the Giants’ 13 shutout wins this year.
Webb allowed only three hits and two walks in the 91-pitch effort, striking out the side in the third and using his impressive sinker to induce three double plays. He now has a 2.96 ERA over 17 appearances (16 starts) this year, a huge step forward from the 5.47 ERA he posted in 2020.
One of the keys to Webb’s success this year has been the strides he’s made with his sinker, which he’s now throwing 33.7% percent of the time, up from 14.9% last year. Webb added the sinker to his arsenal last season, but he initially struggled to get a feel for it, so he decided to focus on improving his control of the pitch this year.
“Just working on it every time I play catch and in bullpens has been huge,” Webb said. “Making that probably my biggest emphasis in everything I do during catch and bullpen work. I think it’s starting to pay off, but I’ve got to keep working on it and keep getting better at it.”
While his primary occupation is pitching, Webb also flashed his power potential at the plate in the fourth. The Rockies intentionally walked Alex Dickerson to bring up Webb with the bases loaded and one out, but Webb promptly drilled a long drive that hit off the top of the center-field wall and fell for a two-run single, extending the Giants’ lead to 4-0.
“Obviously, that was a big swing for him,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Logan has power. If nothing else at the plate, he’s got pop.”
Márquez barely managed to keep Webb from leaving the yard, but he couldn’t do the same with LaMonte Wade Jr., who subsequently blasted a misplaced fastball 430 feet out to right-center field for a majestic three-run shot that broke the game open for the Giants.
It was the 15th home run of the year for Wade, who hit only two over 42 games in his first two Major League seasons with the Twins.
Márquez entered Thursday with a 1.94 ERA in his previous nine starts, but he continued to struggle against the Giants, who have torched him for 22 earned runs over 14 1/3 innings (13.81 ERA) in their four meetings against him this year. Márquez now has a 7.19 career ERA against the Giants, the worst among active players (min. 50 IP).
“I think our game plan has been sound,” Kapler said. “I think we’ve gotten some big hits in big moments. I think that’s No. 1. I think we’ve been able to wear him down just enough. I will say this, I think he’s one of the better pitchers in the National League. His stuff is excellent, and it’s easy. He doesn’t really work hard to get to his best stuff. We’ve had some success against him, but we have the utmost respect for him as well.”