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Webb, Flores outshine Bellinger in return, power Giants' win

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Wilmer Flores and Logan Webb

After nearly two months, the Los Angeles Dodgers finally got former National League MVP Cody Bellinger back in their lineup, but the biggest returns Saturday were in the Giants' dugout. 

Logan Webb came back from a shoulder scare to have one of the best performances of his career, particularly when you consider the opponent. Wilmer Flores returned from a 10-day stint on the IL with a hamstring strain and had one of his better games of the year, picking up three singles in three at-bats on a day when the Giants crushed Julio Urias and Dodgers relievers.

The Giants, behind those two and many others, jumped out to a healthy lead and cruised to an 11-6 win at Dodger Stadium that clinches at least a split of this weekend series. They'll go for an outright win Sunday behind Kevin Gausman, and then it's back home, where they'll try to keep this run going as they continue to get healthier. 

The training room has been full all season, and particularly in recent weeks, but getting Flores back gives Gabe Kapler a veteran option at first base while Brandon Belt and Darin Ruf heal. Getting Webb back completed the rotation, and the youngest member looks ready to pick up where he left off. 

 

Webb was kicking his season into another gear when his shoulder acted up on the last road trip, but he ended up missing just one start. In his return to the mound, Webb allowed one hit in five innings. He struck out seven Dodgers and walked none.

"The main thing was getting ahead with the changeup and the off-speed pitches, and when I did that I think it kind of just set up everything else and I obviously had some pretty good success with doing that," Webb said. "I kind of just rolled with it. I kept going with it throughout the game and it just felt like it kept getting better each inning."

Webb threw 15 changeups, 13 of which were strikes. Of his 11 sinkers, eight were strikes, and getting ahead so often allowed him to use his slider as a put-away pitch. Webb threw 24 of those, getting 10 swings-and-misses. Six of his seven strikeouts came on his slider. 

"That's the best I've felt throwing my slider, for sure," Webb said. 

It all added up to one of Webb's more promising outings, even if it was a short one. Coming off the shoulder strain, he was going to be held to just about 60 pitches. He ended up throwing 62, but that was more than enough to get him a win. The Giants led 7-2 when Webb walked off for the final time, having put seven runs and 11 hits on Urias' line a few days after he dominated them at Oracle Park. 

"The guys, I think they wanted a little revenge from last time they faced Urias," Webb said. "It was really good energy today in the dugout."

The lead briefly got shaky after Webb turned it over to Scott Kazmir, appearing as a big leaguer for the 300th time but making just his second relief appearance. But Steven Duggar hit a big double and the lineup kept charging, scoring the most runs by a Giants team at Dodger Stadium since 2013. 

Webb welcomed the onslaught, although he won't need that much support if he keeps pitching like this. He has allowed just two earned runs in his last three starts, looking more and more like the rotation anchor the Giants have always envisioned.

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Kapler said it was "one of the better performances I've seen from him," noting Webb pounded the strike zone, an emphasis from the coaching staff. Webb was so good that he put pressure on his manager to keep him in, but Kapler played the long game, as he has all year. 

"We were going to be pretty disciplined here coming off the shoulder injury with one of our young pitchers that we're going to be depending on for a long time," he said.

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