Giants observations: Sean Hjelle shines in weird 7-4 loss to Padres


What we learned as Hjelle shines in Giants' weird loss to Padres originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN DIEGO -- The Giants were eliminated on Saturday. The Padres clinched a playoff spot on Sunday. Monday's game was meaningless to the big picture, but the lineups still found a way to get some late fun in, which is what one does when in the Gaslamp.

A scoreless game was broken open when the Padres scored seven runs off Giants relievers Shelby Miller and Jarlin Garcia in the bottom of the eighth. Miller ran into trouble by walking three straight, including an intentional pass to Juan Soto, and Garcia capped the big frame by allowing a three-run shot to longtime Giants-killer Wil Myers.

Tim Hill entered a 7-0 game and immediately started handing it all right back on a platter. He walked or drilled four of the first five hitters he faced and also gave up two-run singles to Brandon Crawford and Joey Bart, bringing closer Josh Hader into the game.

Hader struck out Austin Slater but then grazed Wilmer Flores to again load the bases. J.D. Davis nearly hit a go-ahead grand slam, but his deep fly was caught a few feet short of the short porch in the right-field corner.

The Giants lost 7-4, falling back to .500 at 80-80. Here are three more things to know from the first 7 1/2 innings, when this was your normal, uneventful scoreless game.

Good Hjelle

It's been an up-and-down rookie season for Sean Hjelle, but there have been a couple of very promising performances, including Monday's "bulk innings" outing. Hjelle entered in the second inning and threw five shutout innings, striking out a career-high eight. The outing was tied for his longest in the big leagues, and he became the first Giants reliever to strike out eight in an appearance since Drew Smyly's "bulk innings" outing on Sept. 10, 2020.

As he did in Milwaukee early last month -- his other five-inning outing -- Hjelle flashed good velocity on a sinker he used nearly half the time. Hjelle averaged 94.3 mph and hit 96.8, a season-high.

The Opener

When John Brebbia gave a very entertaining interview last week, a reporter mentioned that he had made nine consecutive scoreless appearances as an opener. Brebbia jokingly (probably) made reference to having just been jinxed, but nothing can stop him in the first inning right now.

The right-hander plunked leadoff hitter Ha-Seong Kim in the bottom of the first but then got a groundout, pop-up and flyout. He has made 10 starts this year as an opener and still has not allowed a run. The appearance was Brebbia's 75th, keeping him atop the NL leaderboard. The Giants may shut Carlos Rodón down so there's a chance Brebbia makes a 76th appearance -- and 11th start -- on Tuesday.

Keeping the Momentum Going

David Villar won Sunday's game with a two-run single in the top of the 10th and he kept it going a night later. The Giants didn't have a hit until Villar singled to center with one out in the fifth and he added a second single in the seventh.

The multi-hit game was Villar's eighth since he got called back up from the minors and his third in the last four games.

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