Greek Giant

My thanks to Ryan for that awesome headline!

Yesterday the Giants defeated the Houston Astros 5-3 in a very intriguing matchup between Logan Webb, the Giants Ace, and Framber Valdez, perhaps the Co-Ace of the Astros. These two are not only top pitchers in the game, they have the highest percentage of ground ball outs in the Majors with Valdez leading the way entering the game.

But it would be Logan Webb who would prevail, improving his record to 6-5, thanks in no small part to big days from Austin Slater (3-5, 2 RBIs) and Brett Wisely (2-4 with a run scored). Austin Slater is tearing the cover off the ball since returning to the team a few days ago. Perhaps word of his demise was a bit premature? And Brett Wisely!! OMG! All of a sudden Mr. Wisely is turning into the left-handed Jose Altuve! What a performance he has put on of late. Yesterday he homered and yesterday, in addition to his big day at the plate, played solid defense and helped the Giants turn two critical double plays in the seventh and eighth innings, when the Astros were cooking up some Texas-fried rallies and were on the verge of tying the game or going ahead.

This was a team win all-around. Let’s begin with the Giants scoring first in the bottom of the third inning when Yaz singled up the middle and Slater followed that hit with a perfect bunt single down the third base line to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Ramos would hit into a fielder’s choice to put runners on first and third with one out before Wilmer Flores hit a sacrifice fly to left. Yordan Alvarez made a nice catch on the fly ball, coming in a long way, but his throw home to get Flores, who scored easily, sailed over everyone’s head and that allowed Ramos to advance to third base. He would score easily when, with two outs Matt Chapman hit a laser beam double to right center field to bring in the Giants second run of the game. That was a clutch hit and it put a charge into the Giants dugout and into the fans who were watching this most lovely Giants win on a bright sunny afternoon by the bay.

The Astros answered with a lone run in the top of the fourth when, after a Yordan Alvarez double off the top of the brick wall in Triples Alley that would have been a home run in any other ballpark, Bregman grouded out but Jeremy Pena drove home Alvarez with a routine grounder to second. The only problem was that because of the shift Wilmer Flores fielded it far from first base and Logan Webb forgot to cover first which allowed Pena to make safely easily and gift the Astros a run.

But the Giants would answer with three more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning that went like this: Soler single, Wisely ground rule double, Estrada K, Slater single that scored Soler and Wisely then a sac fly by Ramos to score Yaz. That made it 5-1 Giants with Logan Webb cruising to what appeared to be a nice afternoon victory. The Astros and Yordan Alvarez had other things in mind however. Alvarez would hit a two-run homer on a splitter around his ankles in the top of the sixth inning. He drove in Bregman who singled earlier in the inning. The most impressive thing about that homer was that Alvarez was off balance when he hit it. He did not get his full body into the swing and in no world did I think it would be a round-tripper but Yordan has some mean, big boy power and it cleared the center field wall traveling about 405 feet. It was a sight to behold.

The good news, for the Giants, is this: Webb and the bullpen held Houston scoreless from that point on. Webb would end up pitching six innings allowing seven hits, three runs no walks and striking out six Astros. Against this team with this line up that’s a start you will take pretty much every time. Ryan Walker, Tyler Rogers and Camilo Doval pitched the seventh, eighth and ninth innings respectively to preserve the win to give the Giants a record of 34-35. Doval’s save was his twelfth of the year.

This was a big win because the Giants won two of three from Houston after taking two of three from the Rangers in Texas. That’s four of six wins from last year’s American League Championship Series teams.

Speaking of Slater’s resurgence, Bob Melvin had some kind words to say about Austin’s big hit to drive in two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning:

“It’s huge, especially against a starter like that, And then we have Webby on the mound. So you really feel good about winning the game.”

-Bob Melvin

The Highlights