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What we learned as Giants beat Nationals with bats, gloves

NBC Sports
Brandon Crawford

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants mostly said all the right things publicly over the last week, but privately, quite a few members of the organization wondered why Nike's designers decided that the City Connect jerseys the team is donning this weekend were so focused on fog. 

It seemed an uninspired choice, and as the Giants put them on for the first time Friday, there wasn't much of a connection. It was a beautiful, clear night at Oracle Park, and Giants hitters took advantage of the lively environment. 

The lineup bashed three more homers and the bullpen held tough through some tight moments, clinching a 5-3 win over the Washington Nationals. The Giants improved to 55-32 and guaranteed that for at least another night they will stand alone atop the National League West. 

They jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but with Logan Webb on a pitch count this ended up being a bullpen game, and there were soft spots. Jose Alvarez recorded just one out in place of Webb in the fourth and was charged with three runs that tied the game. On top of that, he was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. 

Darin Ruf's solo shot put the Giants back on top in the fifth and Wilmer Flores padded the lead two innings later with another homer, the 130th of the season for the Giants. That ties the total for the 2016 team, and puts them two ahead of the 2017 team. Next up: The 2014 (132 homers) and 2018 (133) teams. 


Yeah, this season has been different. 

The Giants got to 2-2 on the homestand and will try to add another game tomorrow when Anthony DeSclafani takes on Jon Lester. Here are three more things to know from a raucous night at Oracle Park: 

Welcome Back, Webby

Webb has twice been on the IL this season with a right shoulder strain, and the second stint cost him 33 games. His first night back was about as promising as the Giants could have asked for. 

Webb went three innings, as Gabe Kapler expected before the game, and allowed just one hit while striking out four. He struck out three of the four batters he faced in the first inning, working around an error. Webb had his normal stuff, and his sinker seemed to have even more movement than it did before the injury. He threw a particularly nasty one to Juan Soto:

Webb getting back to form would be huge for the Giants, who still view starting depth as their biggest concern over the second half. 

Ruf Assignment For Pitchers

Ruf was a late addition to the lineup, replacing LaMonte Wade Jr., who has a hand strain and didn't feel right in BP. The move ended up being a godsend for the Giants. Ruf had an RBI single in the first inning and then broke a tie in the fifth with a 433-foot blast to left-center. The homer was Ruf's ninth of the season and third in his last five games. 

Ruf is a platoon player, so he doesn't have nearly enough at-bats to qualify for NL leaderboards, but he has been one of the league's most dangerous hitters on an at-bat for at-bat basis. Ruf finished the night with a .961 OPS, which places him behind just two everyday players in the National League: Fernando Tatis Jr. and Ronald Acuña Jr. He is slugging .563 through 59 appearances this year. Only four everyday players in the NL are higher. 

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Curt Keeps Crushing

The Giants put Buster Posey on the IL in the afternoon, but that didn't matter on this night. Curt Casali had three hits, including a two-run shot in the second that pushed the lead to 3-0. Casali got off to a brutal start as a Giant but has been a different player since he took a short IL stint to let his wrist, which was operated on in the offseason, fully heal.

In 14 games since returning, Casali was batting .361 with seven extra-base hits. He added to that Friday with the homer and a double. Casali's average dipped to .100 on June 12 but he's up to .215 less than a month later.

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