D-backs spot Webster early lead in successful debut
Batting ninth, Andrew Webster's fly-out to end the top of the first inning came before he threw his first pitch with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Webster, called up from Triple-A before the game, watched his offense spot him a 3-0 first-inning lead over the San Francisco Giants in an eventual 4-2 victory. Thae early edge gave Webster time to calm down from his jumpy start to go 5 2/3 innings Saturday, allowing two earned runs, two hits and three walks while striking out two.
Following teammate Chase Anderson's hitless bid that ended in the seventh inning on Friday, Webster went an out into the sixth inning before allowing a hit. It was the first time two D-backs put together hitless games through five innings since 2000, when Armando Reynoso and Randy Johnson did the same.
Webster, acquired from the Boston Red Sox in December, indeed benefited from an offense that for the second game in a row jumped on the Giants. This time -- after missing a few opportunities against Madison Bumgarner in a 1-0 win -- the D-backs were timely against San Francisco starter Ryan Vogelsong.
All of Arizona's damage in the first inning came with two outs. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt reached on a single, Yasmany Tomas followed with a walk and David Peralta drove in Goldschmidt with a single. Next up, Aaron Hill walked to load the bases, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Nick Ahmed each eyed their way into walks to score two more runs.
In the fourth inning, Goldschmidt hit a two-out single to score Ahmed, giving Arizona a 4-0 lead.
Webster walked two in the first inning, but performed efficiently after that with 68 pitches through five hitless innings. The sinker-ball pitcher induced eight ground outs, a good sign if he gets his chance in the tight confines of Chase Field, which favors hitters.
Webster reached a pitch-count of 81 in the sixth, after he found his first trouble. Giants outfiedler Nori Aoki walked and, with an out, Joe Panik doubled down the right field line for the first hit against Webster. A pop-fly by Angel Pagan and double by Posey each drove in a run, ending Webster's outing.
The bullpen locked down the 4-2 lead from there.
Webster's start was promising for an Arizona team that appears set on giving its young talent more looks as the season grows old.
Aaron Hill put together a second defensive highlight in two nights. After helping prolong a no-hit bid for Anderson with a nab of a liner from third base on Friday, substitutions placed him at second in the ninth on Saturday. He snagged another sharp hit, throwing it to first for the second out as the Giants's rally fell short.
* Arizona never takes the straight numbers from Triple-A Reno pitchers too seriously, and their gut feeling about Webster looked correct through one game. Webster had been erratic, allowing six or more runs in three of his five outings for Reno this year. But in his first two starts since returning from shoulder soreness, he allowed two runs and seven hits in 11 innings of play.
* The D-backs bullpen is getting rested, and the move of starter Josh Collmenter there only adds to the possibility that Chip Hale can get the 25-man roster down to 12 pitchers, thereby adding another utility man while being more able to strategically use different arms in the bullpen. On Saturday, relievers Andrew Chafin, Randall Delgado and Brad Ziegler followed Webster, going 3 1/3 innings and allowing two hits and no earned runs.
* San Francisco is not getting much offense at home. Bruce Bochy's crew is winless in its last seven games at AT&T Park, averaging 2.3 runs per game during that time.
2000 - The last year two D-backs pitchers put together consecutive games without allowing a hit through five innings.
Upon the Diamondbacks' recall of Webster, they also made the decision to designate J.C. Ramirez for assignment, opening a roster spot for their new starter.