SAN DIEGO — A sore arm prevented David Villar from taking part in third base on Wednesday afternoon, however the Giants determined to maintain his bat of their lineup by having him function the designated hitter of their season finale at Petco Park.
The transfer paid off when the 25-year-old rookie blasted two residence runs — together with a go-ahead two-run drive within the fourth inning — to hold the Giants to an 8-1 win over the Padres. The Giants completed 2022 with an 81-81 report, the primary mark at precisely .500 within the membership’s 140-season historical past.
“It was an important final sport,” Villar stated. “I’m completely satisfied to see that a number of the changes I made paid off. It’s at all times feeling to return out with a ‘W’ within the final sport of the season.”
Villar snapped a 1-1 tie within the fourth by crushing a first-pitch cutter from Padres opener Craig Stammen over the left-field wall, sparking a four-run rally that put the Giants forward, 5-1. Villar added a solo shot off Pierce Johnson within the eighth after his 341-foot drive clanked off the glove of a leaping Jurickson Profar and bounced into the left-field stands.
“I used to be confused as a result of I noticed it go into his internet, and I believed, ‘Man, it’s a flyout; he made a pleasant play,’” Villar stated. “I’m rounding first and I see Alan [Porter] the [second-base] umpire go, ‘Hey, it’s a homer.’ It’s a pleasant feeling. It was somewhat little bit of a sigh of reduction.”
Villar’s second profession multi-homer sport gave him 9 residence runs on the 12 months, eight of which came to visit the ultimate month of the common season. He slugged 36 residence runs between Triple-A Sacramento and the Majors, probably the most by any participant within the Giants group since Barry Bonds launched 45 in 2004.
“It was cool to see him end on such a powerful observe,” supervisor Gabe Kapler stated. “I feel he’s had some at-bats that he sort of grinded his manner by means of and others that simply finish with a bang like they did at the moment. I simply really feel like he’s actually represented himself effectively throughout the board. He did a pleasant job on protection and demonstrated his versatility. It’s good to see him end up robust like that.”
Austin Slater additionally homered, whereas LaMonte Wade Jr. went 3-for-5 with an RBI to carry his batting common (.207) over the Mendoza Line on the ultimate day of the 2022 marketing campaign. Seven Giants pitchers mixed to restrict the playoff-bound Padres to solely 4 hits within the membership’s third bullpen sport this week.
The reduction corps featured one more newcomer in lefty Andrew Vasquez, who grew to become the 66th participant utilized by the Giants this 12 months, probably the most in franchise historical past. Maybe no participant from that pool has raised his inventory down the stretch greater than Villar, who is anticipated to compete for a beginning job in San Francisco’s infield subsequent spring after batting .231 with a .786 OPS over 52 video games this 12 months.
“I feel there’s at all times coming in and eager to show that I needs to be up right here and keep up right here,” stated Villar, who hit .291 over his last 26 video games. “Whether or not I’m going to Triple-A or the large leagues to start out subsequent 12 months, I feel there’s at all times room for enchancment.
“There’s loads of issues I need to work on this offseason. Particularly, I need to work on protection. That’s a giant issue. And simply sort of constructing off what I’ve been capable of do within the final month. That’s one thing to stay up for.”
Whereas the Padres boarded a flight to New York to face the Mets within the Nationwide League Wild Card Collection, the Giants discovered themselves heading residence for the winter following their regular-season finale, a disappointing consequence for a membership that gained a franchise-record 107 video games final 12 months.
President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and the remainder of the Giants’ entrance workplace have loads of work to do that offseason to attempt to construct a youthful and extra athletic roster that’s able to competing within the NL West in 2023. However they’ll have a couple of promising items to construct round following the emergence of such younger gamers as Villar, Logan Webb, Thairo Estrada, Camilo Doval, Sean Hjelle and Joey Bart.
“It was essential to return right here and attempt to win as many video games as doable,” Villar stated. “Ending the season like we did at the moment, I feel that’s an indication of issues to return sooner or later.”