Everything was clicking for the Giants Friday night. Offensive performances from Wilmer Flores (1-4, HR, 3 RBIs), Chadwick Tromp, (2-4, 1 RBI), and Darin Ruf (2-3, 3 RBI), paired with a phenomenal combined effort from the Giants bullpen (5-1/3 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BBs, 7 Ks) propelled the Giants to a 9-2 win in game one of this three-game series.
The Giants have had a flair for the dramatic as of late. Back-to-back games of overcoming sizable deficits, the Giants feel as if they can scrap and claw enough to compete with any team. The key is to not implode for six runs in the tenth inning of a tied ball game.
Webb ran into trouble right away. And by “right away,” the very first pitch of the game. Rangers leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo hit an opposite-field home run to, giving Texas a 1-0 lead.
A quiet bottom of the first for the Giants after an Austin Slater base hit to lead off the inning.
Two Rangers at the corners in the top of the second inning after Webb allowed singles to both Willie Calhoun and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Crisis averted, but Webb threw 43 pitches in just those two innings.
Evan Longoria roped a double down the left field line to lead off the bottom of the second. A fly ball to right off the bat of Donovan Solano advanced Longoria to third. Ruf dropped a base hit into right field, scoring Longoria, and tying the game at one.
Webb was put to the test early and often. A fielding error by Solano at second allowed Rougned Odor to reach base. A double from Joey Gallo scored Odor, giving the Padres a 2-1 lead. An un-earned run for Webb because of the error.
A frustrating night for Webb resulted in his departure in the fourth inning after throwing 79 pitches in 3-2/3 innings pitched. We walked the bases loaded after hitting one Ranger with a pitch. One pitch from reliever Conner Menez (W, 1-0, 3.38 ERA) ended the Rangers threat.
After the game, Giants manager Gabe Kapler discussed Webb’s short outing, and his philosophy for extending his starters deeper into games moving forward:
“The most important thing, and we’ve been pretty consistent with this, is that we really want to be diligent about keeping our guys healthy, strong, and not just at the outset of the season, but all the way through. We’re going to need to see some efficiency to push our starters deep into games. While Logan was effective, he was still pushing up towards 80 pitches at the end of that outing. That’s a lot for four innings of work. We would have been very comfortable pushing Logan into the sixth inning today, but we were going to need to see a really efficient outing.”
Mike Yastrzemski led off the bottom of the fourth with a double into the right-center field gap, his fifth extra-base hit in four games. The Giants were unable to bring him home.
Giants catcher Tromp collected his first major league hit in the bottom of the fifth inning. Mauricio Dubon followed with a base hit of his own. Flores came through big, launching a three-run home run into the left field bleachers, his second of the season. Giants jumped out ahead 4-2 after five innings.
After the game, Kapler talked about Flores’ home run and his confidence that his utility man would come through in this moment:
“It’s interesting, in that moment when Wilmer was up there, i leaned over to [Kai Correa] and said that there was nobody i would rather have up in this moment. Wilmer came into this season with all of us knowing that he was such a threat against left-handed pitching, so we kind of envisioned this moment way back in the offseason. Then he’s had such success against right-handed pitching as well, it’s just right now we feel like he’s a great option.”
Shaun Anderson took over for Menez in the sixth inning, retiring the side with ease.
The first major league hit, and an RBI to go along with it. Ruf walked in the bottom of the sixth, and Tromp brought him home with an RBI double down the left field line, his second hit of the night. Dubon followed with an RBI single up the middle, scoring Tromp. Giants lead 6-2 after six innings.
When Tromp made his major league debut the other day, he was honest, and revealed that he was nervous, which may have contributed towards his struggles that day. Kapler talked about his poise Friday night, and how he looked like the player that intrigued them so much:
“Part of those nerves calmed down a little bit tonight, and he settled in nicely. He called a great game, obviously, he got some big strikes at the bottom of the zone, and had some nice at-bats. It was a good all-around performance, and the performances we were seeing in our modified camp that led us to believe that he is going to be contributing to our major league roster this year.”
Flores walked to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning. Three batters later, Longoria forced a two-out walk. Who else, but “Donnie Barrels?” The hottest hitter in the Giants lineup, Solano, lined a single into right field, scoring Flores.
Ruf followed with a two-run double to right-center, breaking this game wide open. It was 9-2 Giants through seven innings.
The Giants bullpen completed its over-powering performance of the Rangers lineup Friday night.
After the game, Chadwick Tromp talked about his first major league hit, and how important it was after grinding for so many years in the minor leagues:
“That was a special moment for me. When you put in so much work, day in and day out in the offseason for a lot of years, and then you get here and the moment presents itself, when I got that first hit I was like ‘let’s do this now.’ It was fun.”
Tromp, along with Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogearts are the two lone players from Aruba at the big league level. He discussed why that is such a huge deal for his hometown:
“So now it’s just me and [Xander Bogearts], the community back home, they are going nuts. I’m going to be honest with you. It’s crazy, people are celebrating, the whole island is celebrating. I love it because we’re such a small island, and this is very important to them, because it puts us on a bigger scale, and shows the world that a small island can do big things in life.”