By Evan Webeck
LOS ANGELES — The Giants may be stewing on their charter flight to Milwaukee over a series loss here to the Dodgers, mathematically eliminating them from contention in the NL West, but they have to be happy about the contributions the past three games from their two most intriguing September call-ups.
The latest encouraging development came from David Villar, who homered two more times Wednesday afternoon, including one off Clayton Kershaw, for the Giants’ only runs in a 7-3 loss, finishing their nine-game slate at Dodger Stadium with only one win, matching a franchise-worst single-season record at their archrivals’ home ballpark.
The homers were Villar’s second and third in three games this series, teaming up with Lewis Brinson, who hit three in the first two games, to provide a much-needed punch in the Giants’ lineup — and possibly a preview of next season.
None have been cheap shots.
Brinson peppered the sun-bleached outfield seats in left, right and center with his three home runs, while all three of Villar’s shots were to the opposite field, including one on Wednesday against Kershaw, a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer.
In total, the Giants homered nine times in three games, accounting for all 13 of their runs this series.
After Mike Yastrzemski singled to lead off the fifth inning, Villar punished a two-strike slider from Kershaw and opened an early 2-0 lead.
Facing another lefty, reliever Justin Bruihl, in the seventh, Villar attacked the first pitch he saw and sent it to almost an identical location in right-center field. That shot tied the score at 3 and gave Villar the first multi-homer game of his brief big-league career.
The home runs weren’t enough support for Alex Cobb, who navigated traffic in all five of his innings but ultimately put himself in one too many jams. After allowing Freddie Freeman and Max Muncy to reach to lead off the fifth — the Dodgers’ fourth straight inning with at least two men on base — Justin Turner launched a three-run homer to left-center, just out of reach of a leaping Brinson, and Cobb’s day was over one batter later.
The Dodgers plated the decisive runs in the eighth against Zack Littell, who was pitching his third inning in two games as the club attempts to navigate a bullpen game Tuesday and a double-header Thursday. Trea Turner knocked in the go-ahead run with a double over Joc Pederson’s head in left, and Muncy blew the game open with a three-run homer.
The loss officially eliminated the Giants from the NL West race, 28.5 games behind the Dodgers with 27 left to play.
But for a team out of contention, September is about finding silver linings — like Villar and Brinson.
- The temperature at Dodger Stadium when Kershaw fired the first pitch at 1:10 p.m. was 99 degrees, marking the hottest conditions the Giants have played in this season. With a heat wave enveloping all of California, it was 90 degrees for their 7:10 first pitch Friday and 83 at the same time Saturday, actually cooler in Los Angeles than it was in most of the Bay Area.
- The Giants added right-hander Luis Ortiz to their roster before the game, optioning outfielder Bryce Johnson back to Triple-A, but he didn’t make an appearance. It’s expected that Ortiz will help cover some of the 18 innings they are set to play Thursday in Milwaukee.
Source: Paradise Post