Giants observations: Logan Webb dazzles Astros for series win in Houston

What we learned as Giants win series vs. Astros behind Webb's gem originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

HOUSTON -- One of the most grueling two-city road trips the Giants have ever taken ended on a positive note.

Logan Webb kept the momentum going for the rotation, taking a shutout into the eighth and leading the Giants to a 4-2 win over the Houston Astros. After losing both games in Mexico City, the Giants ended the trip by taking two of three from the defending champs.

There are only two pitchers who have had a lower ground-ball rate than Webb over the last three seasons. One is his teammate, Alex Cobb, and the other is Framber Valdez, who lived up to that reputation on Wednesday.

Valdez induced three double plays in six innings -- including two when J.D. Davis smoked balls off his body -- but the Giants finally broke through in the sixth. Austin Slater's RBI single got them on the board and the Giants kept adding, taking a three-run lead into the eighth.

Webb put the first two runners on, but on his 100th pitch, close friend Mauricio Dubón bounced into a double play. That proved to be important, because Alex Bregman followed with a homer that got the Astros within a run.

Wilmer Flores got a run back in the ninth with a solo shot into the Crawford Boxes in left, and reliever Camilo Doval closed the Astros out for a second straight day.

Surprisingly Deep

The first two innings of Webb's start brought back memories of 2022 when a league-worst defense repeatedly cost the starters extra pitches. Two misplays in the first two innings led to Webb throwing 46 pitches to record the first six outs, but he did a remarkable job of getting back on line.

Over the next four innings, Webb threw 11, nine, nine and nine pitches, with that last frame being against the heart of the order. A day after Anthony DeSclafani threw eight shutout innings, he reached the eighth by throwing just seven pitches in the seventh.

Webb wouldn't make it out of the frame, but it was still a third straight start of at least 6 2/3 innings and just two runs allowed. Through seven starts, he has a 3.80 ERA.

Power Of The Stache

Slater showed off all his best skills -- and his Mustache May look -- while putting the Giants on top in the sixth. Joey Bart kicked the inning off with a single and went to second on LaMonte Wade Jr.'s sacrifice bunt, and Slater brought him racing home by going with a low curveball and lining a single into right.

He promptly stole second and then scored on Mitch Haniger's single. (Haniger also has a budding mustache.)

With the stolen base, Slater now is 45 for 50 in his career. The Giants have been somewhat limited by Slater's ongoing elbow discomfort, but the goal is to have him in center field whenever they face a lefty.

Picking Up Speed

Bart helped save Tuesday's game when he made back-to-back mound visits with two outs in the ninth, preventing Doval from getting hit with a pitch clock violation that would have brought the tying run to the plate. A day later, the bat was on display.

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Bart muscled a single the other way in the sixth, which led to the first Giants run. An inning later, he smoked an RBI double to the track in left-center. The Giants are still waiting for more power, but the big day raised Bart's average to .302 and he continues to show better plate discipline.

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