Villar homers twice, Giants hit 7 in romp over White Sox
CHICAGO - The San Francisco Giants were looking for a spark from their offense. And did they ever get one.
David Villar hit two of San Francisco’s seven home runs, Anthony DeSclafani tossed three-hit ball over six scoreless innings and the Giants pounded the Chicago White Sox 12-3 on Monday afternoon.
"I think it was just continuing to get our ‘A’ swings off," Villar said. "The important thing for us is continuing to get those really good swings off and not being hesitant about making them. If we’re going to make a swing, let’s make it with intent. I think that really showed today, one through nine."
Villar hit a solo homer in the fifth and his first career grand slam in the ninth. Joc Pederson, Michael Conforto, Thairo Estrada, Mike Yastrzemski and Bryce Johnson also went deep for San Francisco, which hit its most home runs since July 2, 2002, at Colorado. The team record is eight at Milwaukee on April 30, 1961, when Willie Mays hit four.
The Giants broke out in a big way after being shut out twice while losing two of three in their opening series at the New York Yankees. They went deep five times against starter Michael Kopech and spoiled Chicago’s first home game under manager Pedro Grifol.
Pederson got the home run derby going when he connected leading off a two-run second. He was also robbed of a two-run drive in the third by center fielder Luis Robert Jr.
The Giants hit four more homers in the fifth, the first time they hit four in an inning since Sept. 18, 2011, at Colorado. Conforto and Estrada went back to back with one out, and so did Yastrzemski and Villar with two down, extending the lead to 7-0.
Johnson finished the home run parade with the first of his career — a solo drive in the ninth. He said he got doused doused in the clubhouse with "ketchup, mustard, everything you could possibly put on a pancake."
DeSclafani picked up his first win since Oct. 1, 2021. The 32-year-old right-hander was limited to five starts last season because of a right ankle injury. But he felt like he was showing more of the form that made him a 13-game winner in 2021 during spring training.
"It sure feels good to throw a good game, especially after last year and dealing with what I did," he said. "Good for Game 1."
The five home runs allowed by Kopech tied a franchise record. The 26-year-old right-hander got tagged for seven runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Andrew Vaughn hit an RBI double in a two-run seventh. Robert added a solo shot in the eighth for his second homer in as many days. But it was a rough home opener for the White Sox after they split four games at defending World Series champion Houston.
"I think with the way the team started in Houston, the fans can look at that and have some excitement," Kopech said. "On a personal level, for this being my first start, it’s a tough one to swallow."
The start time was moved up an hour because of forecast rain. The White Sox announced the change on Sunday.
Giants: Estrada was lifted for a pinch runner following a walk in the ninth, after fouling a ball off his leg. ... OFs Mitch Haniger (strained left oblique) and Austin Slater (strained left hamstring) were to return to San Francisco and resume baseball activities. "With Slates in particular, he’s beginning to feel really good," Kapler said. "Haniger is just a little bit behind him."
White Sox: Closer Liam Hendriks was beginning his final round of chemotherapy on Monday. Hendriks, battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma, made the announcement in an eight-second video shown prior to the game. GM Rick Hahn said Hendriks (non-Hodgkin lymphoma) and LHP Garrett Crochet (left elbow surgery) are "progressing," though the White Sox won’t have a timeline on their returns until they begin rehab assignments. He said the two relievers are on the 15-day injured list rather than the 60-day IL "for a reason." "We are headed the right away and currently have a very real chance of having them both back prior to 60 days into the year," Hahn said.
The three-game series continues Wednesday, with San Francisco’s Logan Webb (0-1, 6.00 ERA) and Dylan Cease (0-0, 1.42) meeting in a matchup between ace right-handers.