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SF Giants lose Opening Day to Padres, same tough luck for Logan Webb


SF Giants lose Opening Day to Padres, same tough luck for Logan Webb

SAN DIEGO — Taking the mound Thursday afternoon for his third career Opening Day start, Logan Webb could look behind him and see a new center fielder, Jung Hoo Lee. He could shift focus and see Nick Ahmed at shortstop, turn his head slightly and there was Matt Chapman at third base next to him.

Straight ahead, Bob Melvin looked on from his new perch on the top step of the third-base dugout.

And yet, in a 6-3 loss to the Padres, it sure felt like more of the same from last year for Webb.

The Giants’ ace was lights-out, putting whatever ailed him this spring in the rearview mirror while retiring the Padres in order their first time through the lineup.

After posting a 10.97 ERA in six Cactus League starts, Webb limited San Diego to two runs over six innings but left the game trailing 2-1 and didn’t factor into the decision, an eerily similar feeling for the pitcher who received the least run support in the majors last season.

San Francisco rallied to take the lead in the top of the seventh, but it all fell apart with Webb out of the game.

“Spring training’s tough because there’s not a whole lot of adrenaline,” Webb said. “It was nice today to get out there and get the adrenaline going. I don’t think I thought about my mechanics one time. … Even after I came out there were a lot of broken-bat base hits, not a lot of balls hit hard. That’s baseball, though. Sometimes baseball is cruel like that.”

Luke Jackson relieved Webb to start the bottom half of the inning but left injured after putting all three men he faced on base and allowing the tying run to score in what would turn into a four-run San Diego rally. It all started on an errant throw from Patrick Bailey that bounced past Nick Ahmed when the Padres had runners at the corners with nobody out and Tyler Wade bolted for second base, allowing Luis Campusano to score from third.

Jackson said after the game that he was experiencing back spasms and that would undergo an MRI but was hopeful he could avoid the injured list. He dealt with a similar issue last year, but this time it felt less serious, Jackson said. It didn’t affect him until his final two pitches.

“Webby pitched his ass off. I wish we could’ve gotten him the W,” Jackson said. “I felt great the whole outing and then, I think it was a fastball to (Jackson) Merrill, something happened. I tried to throw another pitch because it didn’t feel as bad as last year and had no idea where it was going. Other than that I felt fantastic. Nothing lingering from last year. Just one of those outings where I wish we could’ve gotten Webby the W.”

In his first game at the helm, Melvin took no issue with Bailey’s attempt to throw out the trailing runner. Bailey also held on to a throw from Thairo Estrada to prevent a third run from scoring against Webb during a two-run fifth inning, while Mike Yastrzemski ran down a fly ball in right field and their new double-play duo of Estrada and Nick Ahmed turned two to erase the first runner Webb put on base in the fourth inning.

“Obviously you’ve got to be quick with a man on third and a good runner (on first),” Melvin said. “Other than that I thought we played really good defense.”

Anchored by Lee and Jorge Soler in the first two spots and Chapman in the cleanup hole, the Giants’ new-look lineup produced four runs on nine hits. But it was their least-heralded newcomer, Nick Ahmed, who provided most of the offense, driving home one run with a double past the third base bag in the third inning and another with a timely single into left field in a two-run seventh inning that briefly put the Giants back in front, 3-2.

“Look, we take a lead going into the seventh and just couldn’t stop them in the seventh,” Melvin said. “After seven, you expect to hopefully close it out.”

Michael Conforto singled and scored the tying run in the seventh in a three-hit effort, coming around to score each time. He gave the Giants their first hit of the game with a third-inning double, eventually trading places with Ahmed, then cut the deficit to two runs with a solo shot to right center in the top of the ninth.

By the end of his first major-league game, Lee had recorded his first hit — a line drive single into center field — and driven in his first run, a sacrifice fly that allowed Conforto to race home from third. But immediately after reaching base in the fifth inning, Lee was picked off first by Padres starter Yu Darvish for the third out.

“I did get my hit, but right after I got picked off by Darvish, so I never really got that time to feel that I actually got a hit,” Lee said through interpreter Justin Han, adding that he mistakenly thought he had a read on Darvish’s delivery to the plate. “I learned that it’s important not to rely on the (pitcher’s) tipping too much. … The most memorable moment has to be the packed crowds. The level of baseball is way higher here in the major leagues. The level of fans is a higher volume, also.”

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