The SF Giants stayed hot on Wednesday, beating the Colorado Rockies 6-2 for their eighth win in their last nine games. The Giants took advantage of some mistakes by the Rockies defense and starting pitcher José Ureña to take an early lead, and that was more than enough for the team’s defense.
John Brebbia has been impressive as the Giants’ first baseman in recent weeks. The reliever made his ninth start of the season Wednesday and completed his ninth inning. He hit a Rockies hitter without surrendering a baserunner.
In the bottom half of the first, the first four Giants hitters reached base (three singles and a walk) and gave San Francisco an early lead. Shortstop Brandon Crawford came up just feet away from blasting a three-run homer, but instead made the first out of the inning on a warning sacrifice fly. However, the Giants took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first and never looked back.
After recalling Sean Hjelle from Triple-A earlier in the day, the Giants called on the young righty to handle the big innings after Brebbia. Hjelle got off to a shaky start, striking out the first batter he faced and playing a role in two fielding errors (though one was charged to third baseman David Villar), but he limited the damage to just one run and finally found a groove.
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While Hjelle’s massive outing against the Dodgers earlier this month went horribly wrong, he’s now gone at least four innings while giving up two or fewer runs in his other three major league outings this month. Hjelle allowed just two hits and two walks over four innings of work Wednesday, allowing one unearned run on a series of errors in the second and later surrendering a solo home run to Rockies second baseman Alan Trejo. While Hjelle is far from dominating this season in Triple-A, he is starting to look more like a viable up-and-down arm for 2023.
Hjelle was credited with his first career MLB game and was showered with liquid when he arrived in the clubhouse. He told reporters after the game about a bout of nausea that involved Red Bull, beer, ketchup and orange juice. “I’m going to feel bad for a few days,” he said.
However, Hjelle was not the star of this bullpen game. Instead, the pitcher who followed him, former All-Star Shelby Miller continued his impressive start to his Giants career. Miller completed two perfect innings against the Rockies, striking out five as he continued to throw, splitting his pitches evenly between fastball and slider. Miller has made just two appearances since joining the Giants, but he already has 12 strikeouts in just 4.2 innings with just four strikeouts, zero walks and zero runs allowed. That certainly got the Giants’ attention as they consider whether they want to keep Miller beyond this season.
The Giants offense added three more runs in the sixth inning when three singles by Villar, Jason Vosler and Joey Bart to start the inning set the stage for a sacrifice fly by Ford Proctor and a bases-clearing triple by Joc Pederson.
Armed with a four-run lead, manager Gabe Kapler turned to Tyler Rogers in the eighth, who allowed a double and walk to start the inning before retiring the side without allowing a run, and Yunior Marte in the ninth, who allowed a run to score but finished things off.
The SF Giants are now 77-78, just one game under .500. They will wrap up their series against the Rockies on Thursday, with first pitch at Oracle Park scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Pacific.