Logan Webb masterful in first postseason start, Giants beat rival Dodgers in NLDS Game 1

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SAN FRANCISCO -- They kept jumping up and down Friday night, stomping their feet, screaming, “Beat LA! Beat LA, Beat LA!" until their lungs burned, snapping pictures of the centerfield videoboard for posterity.

It took 131 years, but the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers finally played in a postseason game against one another, and the sellout crowd of 41,934 seized the moment, refusing to let go.

The scoreboard will show that the Giants won the game, 4-0, but anyone in the house will tell you that it felt more like the 7th Game of the World Series than Game 1 of the National League Division Series between these two historic rivals.

It was the party of parties with San Francisco 49ers greats Jerry Rice and Steve Young in the house. Home-run king Barry Bonds and former NBA great Chris Mullin were here too. Everyone wanted to witness history, and the Giants made sure to carve their niche.

Giants starter Logan Webb reacts after striking out Trea Turner in the sixth inning.
Giants starter Logan Webb reacts after striking out Trea Turner in the sixth inning.

“This series is going to be a madhouse at both places,’’ Giants third baseman Evan Longoria said.

If the Giants had their druthers, they would have preferred to play the Dodgers a round later in the NL Championship Series, wondering how much sense it made for two teams that combined for 213 victories to play one another right out of the gate.

“We knew that we were going to have to go through them and they’re going to have to go through us to get to the World Series,” Longoria said. “So better get it out of the way early.”

The Giants took the same mantra into the night.

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It took them just four batters into the game to grab a lead on a 2-run homer by Giants icon Buster Posey, their only player who has been part of their three World Series championship run, smacking the 3-0 pitch for an opposite field homer over the right-field wall.

It was all they needed with starter Logan Webb on the mound, who completely suffocated the Dodgers’ offense in his first postseason game. Webb gave up just five hits and struck out 10 batters in 7 ⅔ innings, allowing only two fly balls out of the infield.

And he still hasn’t lost a game in his last 21 consecutive starts, a franchise-record.

He became only the third Giants’ pitcher to pitch at least 7 ⅔ shutout innings with at least 10 strikeouts in a postseason game since the franchise moved to San Francisco, joining Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner.

“Honestly, it’s crazy to me that this is the first time that we’ve never played each other in the playoffs,’’ Webb said. “So to be a part of that is pretty cool to me.’’

Webb, who grew up in nearby Rocklin, Calif., was only 13 years old when Posey helped lead the Giants to their first World Series title in 2010 since moving to San Francisco, and was humbled to be sharing the spotlight with Posey.

This is a man who’s a living, breathing legend in San Francisco, embodying the Giants’ resilience and work ethic at the age of 34, winning three World Series rings, catching three no-hitters and a perfect game, and now behind the plate for the Giants’ historic victory over their hated rivals.

He missed all of last season, deciding to stay home with his wife and newborn twin girls during the pandemic, knowing it was more important to be home with his family.

He returned rejuvenated, and after hitting a career-low .257 with a .688 OPS in 2019, he produced one of the greatest seasons of his career, batting .304 with 18 homers and a .889 OPS. It was the highest OPS by a full-time catcher this season.

Simply, the Giants aren’t playing the Dodgers on this night without him, or without two-time World Series champion Brandon Crawford, who homered in the eighth inning.

“Extremely talented, outlier athletes, I don’t get surprised by and Buster falls into that category,” Kapler said. “World Series trophies, MVP, Rookie of the Year, leadership characteristics, intensity, all of the intangibles, so no surprise, particularly given how much work he put into making this happen.”

Now, the Giants are two victories away from sending the Dodgers home for the winter, ending their dream of becoming the first National League team to repeat as World Series champions since the 1975-76 Cincinnati Reds.

And, oh, does it ever feel sweet, particularly for Crawford, a kid who grew up in the Bay Area and never left.

“I was taught at a young age,’’ Crawford said, “not to like them.’’

He may have respected them, and even admired them from afar, but now, for the first time, he’s part of a Giants’ team that beat them in a postseason game.

He was serenaded off the field with that familiar chant, Beat LA! Beat LA! Beat LA!

It never sounded so good.

Follow Nightengale on Twitter: @Bnightengale

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Giants beat rival Dodgers in NLDS Game 1 behind Logan Webb's gem