Skip to main content

SF Giants: David Villar goes deep in well-rounded win over Rockies

Sean Hjelle led a great showing from the bullpen, and David Villar went deep as the SF Giants cruised to a 6-3 win.

The SF Giants bullpen had to fill in for Carlos Rodón on Tuesday after San Francisco opted to give Rodón an extra few days off while he nurses a split fingernail and blister. Facing the challenging Coors Field environment in Denver, Colorado, the Giants pen rose to the occasion and lifted the team to a 6-3 win.

John Brebbia worked around a leadoff single in the first inning before handing the ball off to Tyler Rogers. Rogers continued his excellent streak of performance in the month of September. The submariner completed two shutout innings and has now gone 10.1 innings across six appearances this month without surrendering a run. Rogers' disappointing 2022 has played a significant part in the Giants bullpen struggles this season. The Giants would love to see Rogers finish the season strong and hopefully put himself in a position to return to a setup role next season.

Facing off against Rockies southpaw Kyle Freeland, the Giants offense took advantage of a fielding miscue to get a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Catcher Joey Bart hit a deep flyball to the warning track in left-center field. Colorado's left fielder Yonathan Daza tracked the ball well but misjudged it at the last moment, and it bounced off his glove. Hustling his way around the bases, Bart ended up at third base. Mike Yastrzemski singled on Freeland's next pitch to bring Bart across home plate.

SF Giants pitcher Sean Hjelle throws a pitch against the Rockies.

Giants manager Gabe Kapler turned to recently promoted prospect Sean Hjelle to handle the middle innings. The longtime starting pitching prospect has been San Francisco's primary bulk-innings option in September during bullpen games. After an impressive five-innings against the Brewers on September 8th, though, Hjelle struggled mightily in his last appearance. Hjelle surrendered six runs against the Dodgers on Saturday and could only get through one inning before he was removed. To his credit, the young righty bounced back from the worst outing of his young big-league career with an excellent performance against the Rockies.

Austin Slater, Thairo Estrada, and Evan Longoria tagged Freeland for two more runs in the top of the sixth with back-to-back-to-back doubles that extended the Giants lead to 3-0. Slater looked great in his first start since he was activated from the injured list this weekend. Estrada continued his scorching play at the plate. After going 2-for-4 with a double and hit by pitch on Tuesday, he is hitting .419/.500/.710 over his past nine games.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Despite pitching on just two days' rest, Hjelle lasted 4+ innings on Tuesday, striking out three while working around six hits. Rockies slugger C.J. Cron took a hanging curveball from Hjelle into the left-field bleachers for a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth. Then, Thomas Szapucki allowed an inherited runner from Hjelle to score in the bottom of the eighth. Still, allowing just two earned runs over four innings at Coors Field is no small feat.

Rockies manager Bud Black turned to right-handed reliever Jake Bird in the top of the seventh inning. Rookie infielder David Villar gave the Giants another insurance run by blasting a 424' home run deep into the left-field bleachers. It was Villar's sixth big-league homer of the year (33rd overall) and his hardest-hit ball against MLB pitching. Villar continues to look like a new hitter since he returned to the Giants roster in September. Over his past 15 games, Villar is hitting .319/.385/.702 with four doubles and five home runs. His strikeout rate is still higher than the Giants would like to see (32.7% over that span), but the 25-year-old infielder is starting to force the front office to consider his potential role on the 2023 team.

After Villar's homer, Bart singled and scored on another double by Slater that extended San Francisco's lead to four.

Szapucki made things interesting in the eighth, walking Ryan McMahon before giving up a two-run double to Cron. Center fielder Lewis Brinson nearly made a fantastic catch against the wall to rob Cron of a hit, but the ball bounced free of his glove. Then, Brinson and Estrada relayed the ball to the plate, where it looked like Bart made an excellent tag to get Daza trying to score. However, the home-plate umpire called Daza safe, and a Giants challenge was deemed unsuccessful by the mythical review board in New York. To his credit, Szapucki induced a flyout from Charlie Blackmon and struck out Michael Toglia to end the inning, but the Rockies were now trailing just 5-3.

The Giants added a final insurance run off former Padres starter Dinelson Lamet in the top of the ninth. Bart drew a lead-off walk, Slater was hit by a pitch, and who else but Estrada took advantage with a two-out RBI single to give San Francisco a 6-3 lead.

Kapler decided to give closer Camilo Doval a night off, placing closing responsibilities in the hands of Yunior Marte. Marte allowed a lead-off single to Randal Grichuk, though, and walked Alan Trejo with two outs. With the tying run coming to the plate, Kapler brought lefty Jarlin García in from the bullpen to face left-handed hitter Ryan McMahon. García retired McMahon to close out the game and record his first save of the season. It was just García's second career MLB save.

The SF Giants improved to 71-77 on the season with the win. They will look to win their third-straight game against the Rockies tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 5:40 PM Pacific.