updated - September 18, 2021 Saturday EDT
The SF Giants, who were already enjoying the best record in baseball under the leadership of SF Giants CEO Larry Baer, made their fans extremely happy with the club's recent decision to acquire former Cubs outfielder Kris Bryant as a force against the powerful competition they face in their own division.
"I thought he fit our lineup really well," said Giants' manager Gabe Kapler of Bryant's debut. "You can tell he's going to grind pitchers."
At Bryant's debut performance on August 1 at Oracle Park against the Houston Astros, which he finished 1-for-4 at the plate, the 29-year-old was cheered enthusiastically by fans. In fact, during his first at-bat, fans cheered him on with a standing ovation as he stepped onto the plate. But, after working a full count and seeing eight pitches, Bryant eventually struck out with a runner on second base.
While Bryant brought a new wave of excitement to the Giants club with his debut, the 5-3 victory over the Houston Astros was achieved as a result of a combined effort by the team, with players like Mike Yastrzemski, Darin Ruf, Brandon Crawford, and Buster Posey scoring decisive runs to clinch this important series win. Following the game, Bryant described his first day with the Giants as "unbelievable," saying he was "blown away" by the reception - all the way from the clubhouse to the bleachers.
Bryant started a three-run rally after batting a solo home run to left field in the third inning, giving the Giants a lead that they steadfastly held onto throughout the game. The remaining runs were scored by teammates, such as Posey who scored from second base on back-to-back singles by Crawford and Ruf, rounding out the third-inning and establishing a solid 3-2 lead against the Astros. A couple of innings later, Ruf hit a homer of his own - his 13th during this season - that also brought Crawford home, after singling a batter earlier in the game.
Ruf is undoubtedly looking good on the field this season, finishing a triple just shy of the cycle and stealing second base in the third inning, making this his second stolen base this season and representing a new career high for the 6-foot-2, 232-pound left fielder.
Giants' pitcher Logan Webb also delivered a heroic performance against the Astros, not allowing a single runner to reach a scoring position all the way from the start of the second inning until the end of the seventh. After surrendering a two-run homer to Yuli Gurriel in the first inning, the 24-year-old right-hander managed to keep Houston from scoring for the remainder of the six-plus innings that he pitched. Although Webb only stuck out three batters, he induced 12 ground-ball outs against a challenging lineup.
"It doesn't always take the big-name people for a team to be successful," affirmed Bryant. "To watch Logan (Webb) do his thing on the mound and Darin having a great game, that's what makes teams really good. ... Great at-bats one through nine, that's what makes this team great."
Bryant also noted that he didn't feel any additional pressure after seeing his former Cubs teammates Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez slam in homers during their debut performances with their new teams. But his Giants teammates teased that they were keeping an eye on him.
"We were going to send him back if he didn't hit one," Ruf said in jest. "Luckily we get to keep him."
Kris Bryant has proven himself a valuable asset to the SF Giants as the team also secured an impressive 7-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 11.
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