CHICAGO — For the second time in nearly 60 years, the Giants went three straight games with four or fewer hits entering Saturday’s game here against the Chicago Cubs. In one inning, they ensured that sluggish streak would not extend to four and, in the process, helped them snap a five-game losing streak.
Logan Webb turned in another superb start, and the Giants’ four runs on four hits in the second inning — their best offensive rally of the road trip, their homer-happy scoring in Los Angeles notwithstanding — offered more than enough support to beat the Cubs, 5-2, for their first win since the first game of this trip, five days and two cities ago.
A mammoth two-run homer off the bat of Joey Bart that came about a half dozen rows shy from making its home on Waveland Avenue served as the ribbon on the rally, after David Villar doubled home Joc Pederson and Cubs starter Marcus Stroman balked home Villar.
That was more than enough for Webb, who allowed just two runs in seven innings of work, to get the win in his seventh consecutive start against NL Central opponents, the longest active streak by any pitcher in the majors against a single division.
After Carlos Rodón struck out 11 but exited after 5⅓ innings on Friday, Webb on Saturday was just as effective — in his own style — and even more efficient.
A two-out double by Ian Happ in the bottom of the sixth snapped a streak of 12 straight batters retired by Webb, and he was promptly stranded when Webb induced a lineout from Rafael Ortega to end the inning.
Firing a slider past Christopher Morel on his 102nd and final pitch, Webb retired 17 of the final 19 batters he faced, after the Cubs scored runs in the first two innings.
Oakland native and Stanford alum Nico Hoerner singled in the first and scored on a double by Ian Happ. In the second, Alfonso Rivas touched all four bases on a line drive into the right-field corner that Luis González mishandled, scored a triple and an E4 on David Villar, who made an unadvised and errant throw to try to nab him at third.
Of Webb’s 21 outs, 15 came on the ground or via the strikeout, though he missed only 10 bats on his 102 pitches.
Before the lockout ended and the season started, Saturday’s starting pitchers were scheming to set up an exhibition — or at least a sim game — among the locked out players in Arizona. Webb and Stroman struck up a friendship, saying at the time, “us sinkerballers have to stick together.”
But on Saturday, Webb had clearly ascended above the elder statesman Stroman, who boogied a little to his warm-up music as he took the mound but was done after four innings, finding the strike zone on barely half of his 80 pitches.
San Francisco’s scoring didn’t stop in the fourth.
David Villar padded the Giants’ lead with a solo shot to left field in the eighth, making it 5-2, and they also got hits in four other innings — two from Pederson (a double to lead off the four-run second and a single the next inning) and three from Bart, too (a fourth-inning double to go with his home run). The 11 hits was more than the Giants had in their past three games combined (10).
Villar’s homer was his fourth in the seven games since being recalled as part of the expanded 28-man rosters this September, and his first in the majors against a right-hander.
Looking for their first series win of trip, the Giants plan to throw a bullpen game Sunday against Cubs lefty Wade Miley. The game is set to televised on Sunday Night Baseball, but rain is in the forecast for nearly all day.