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What we learned as Webb, Giants take 1-0 NLDS lead over Dodgers

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Logan Webb

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Lincecum is retired and hardly ever seen. The same holds true for Matt Cain. Madison Bumgarner has found himself stuck in a rebuild with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ryan Vogelsong is a minor league instructor.

The Giants' rotation, however, is still in very, very good hands when it comes to postseason baseball.

Logan Webb, just 24 years old, picked up the mantle Friday night at Oracle Park, taking a shutout into the eighth inning and striking out 10 to lead the Giants past the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0. That gave San Francisco a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five National League Division Series.

Webb outdueled Cy Young candidate Walker Buehler, and the lineup hit three homers, including a two-run Buster Posey first-inning shot that was the difference. Buehler was the best pitcher the Giants saw the first five months of the season, but they roughed him up in early September in the final regular-season matchup between the two teams, and Posey got runs on the board early Friday. His two-run blast on a 3-0 pitch nearly cleared the arcade and landed in McCovey Cove.

Buehler entered the night with a reputation as one of the best big-game pitchers in the game right now, and he certainly did his part after the Posey homer. He didn't allow another run until the seventh, when Kris Bryant hit a solo shot to left, bringing on the Dodgers' bullpen and giving the Giants a three-run lead.


The Bryant homer sent the ballpark into hysterics, but Webb didn't need nearly that much support. He cruised through the first six innings on just 65 pitches. He stranded a runner on second in the seventh, and then opened the eighth with two soft rollers back to the mound. After Mookie Betts doubled on Webb's 92nd pitch, Tyler Rogers came in and quickly got out of the inning.

As Camilo Doval warmed up, Brandon Crawford hit the third Giants homer of the night, his first in the postseason since a grand slam in the 2014 NL Wild Card Game. Doval, also 24 years old, had a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Here are three observations from the Giants' series-opening win:

Back where he belongs

Posey spent every other October chasing rings in the first half of his career, but he had to wait five years after the 2016 meltdown to get another shot. His first swing back in the postseason produced one of the more incredible swings in Oracle Park's history.

Posey got a 3-0 fastball that caught way too much of the plate and launched a homer that landed on top of the first water tower behind the arcade section. It was about as close as any right-handed hitter has ever come to a Splash Hit at Oracle Park.

The homer was Posey's first in the postseason since he took Max Scherzer, then a Detroit Tiger, deep in Game 4 of the 2012 World Series. Posey now has five career postseason homers, which is tied for fourth in franchise history. Only Barry Bonds (8), Rich Aurilia (6) and Pablo Sandoval (6) have more.

The homer on a 3-0 count was Posey's fourth as a big leaguer. Two of them have come in the last six weeks.

Tommy La Scutaro

The first season of Tommy La Stella's three-year deal was rough at times, with an injury keeping him off the field a lot of the summer. But his first playoff game in orange and black showed exactly why Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris made signing La Stella such a priority.

The leadoff hitter drew a walk to open the bottom of the first, and later scored on Posey's homer. He got two-strike singles his next two times up, with the fifth-inning hit coming after he fell behind 0-2. In his first three plate appearances, La Stella saw 16 pitches.

La Stella and Brandon Crawford also teamed up to do this:

On Friday, the new Giants second baseman was a combo of Marco Scutaro and Joe Panik.

A star is born

Webb was one of the best pitchers in baseball in the second half, but the postseason is where you take it to the next level, and he loudly announced his name on a national stage with the best performance of his career. He became the fourth pitcher in franchise history to strike out at least 10 in his postseason debut, joining Tim Lincecum (14), Jonathan Sanchez (11) and Carl Hubbell (10).

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Webb mixed strikeouts with groundouts all night long, and he never really found himself in too big of a jam. Perhaps the tightest spot came in the seventh when Will Smith doubled to left with one out, causing Tyler Rogers and Dominic Leone to start warming up. Webb bounced back by striking out Matt Beaty and Cody Bellinger, then pumped his fist and screamed as he walked back to the Giants' dugout.

Webb allowed just five hits over his 7 2/3 innings and walked none. He got 21 swinging strikes, including a dozen on his changeup.

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