The last time Logan Webb pitched - Saturday, June 26, he was going against a sub-.500 Central-division team and looking to help the SF Giants stop a short skid.
In that start a week ago, Webb was successful. He struck out six and allowed just two hits and no earned runs as the Giants beat the Cincinnati Reds by seven.
Saturday, Webb returned to the Oracle Park mound with his team again in a rut - a two-game losing streak against American League Central teams, the most recent a contest where the bats were mostly silent and a ninth-inning unearned run was the only run scored in the game as they opened their weekend series with a loss to the Chicago White Sox.
This time, Webb was his usual self, inducing weak contact, striking batters out and staying in control - but the weak contact was too soft at the wrong times and the visiting White Sox capitalized on San Francisco's defensive mistakes to pull out a 5-3 victory.
The SF Giants had a strong first inning
Both Webb and the Giants' recently-cold offense got off to hot starts. The right-hander was perfect through three innings and was provided with run support in the bottom of the first, with Lamonte Wade Jr homering on the second pitch of the game from White Sox righty Dylan Cease.
The Giants even threatened further in the home half of the first, with Joc Pederson following Wade's blast with a double and Mike Yastrzemski drawing a two-out walk, but a groundout ended the frame.
The hosts didn't put two runners on at the same time again until Chicago had taken the lead. In the top of the fourth, Webb allowed his first baserunner as Tim Anderson opened by beating out a tapper to the left side. Andrew Vaughn then grounded to the right side of the infield, and Brandon Belt, playing off the line, ranged but had the ball hit his glove and bounce away for an error.
More soft contact -a five-footer off the bat of Luis Robert - was turned into an out as Curt Casali threw to first, but both runners advanced. After a walk loaded the bases, Gavin Sheets slashed a line drive toward left. Pederson misjudged the ball and sprinted in to try to catch it with momentum for a throw home, but it carried over his head and went to the wall, scoring two. A single past the drawn-in infield plated another and the visitors held a 3-1 lead after four innings.
In the sixth, the White Sox loaded the bases with no outs. Webb buckled down for a strikeout and then induced what could have been an inning-ending double play, with Belt coming off the line to field and throw to Donovan Walton at second, but Walton's return throw to Webb covering first was well off the mark and two runs scored to make it 5-1.
The Giants put together a two-out rally in the eighth. Yastrzemski walked and stole second, then scored on a Darin Ruf double. Another walk brought the potential tying run to the plate, but a groundout ended the inning with only one run having scored.
The bottom of the ninth began quietly, with a groundout, single and force-out putting Pederson on first. Longoria kept things going with a single, and Belt knocked in Pederson with a hit to center. With two on and two out Yastrzemski stepped in as the winning run, but he grounded out to end the game.
Now on a three-game losing streak and losing ground quickly in the NL West, the Giants will try to avoid a sweep at the hands of the White Sox with John Brebbia prepared to operate as an "opener" for what could be a bullpen game.