Giants Observations

What we learned as Giants' valiant comeback effort falls short in loss

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SAN FRANCISCO – It was a not a good night all the way around for the Giants in their series-opening 8-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night at Oracle Park.

The pitching was terrible. Starter Spencer Howard was completely ineffective and failed to make it through three innings, then reliever Randy Rodriguez got lit up for four runs.

Mind you, this was against an Angels team that was without its best hitter in Mike Trout.

The offense once again was on mute for most of the game until the late innings.

While San Francisco did a good job getting on base (10 hits, 7 walks), they didn’t do much when they had guys on. Their first run scored when Wilmer Flores singled and scored on a double play in the fourth.

On the plus side, Flores etched his name into the history books while Heliot Ramos stayed hot and reached base four times, including a massive three-run home run that highlighted the Giants' five-run eighth inning.

Thairo Estrada also had an RBI single in the eighth after grounding into double plays in each of his first two at-bats, and Mike Yastrzemski added a pinch-hit RBI double in the same inning.

Until that point, it was mostly crickets.

The Giants left 10 men on base overall, stranding runners at second in each of the first two innings and again in the fourth, sixth and seventh.

All but two of San Francisco’s hits were singles. They have only one home run in the first four games of this homestand, which has been the norm lately. The Giants have hit 22 home runs at Oracle Park this season, the fewest in the majors by a home team.

The loss dropped the Giants to 34-36. They haven’t been at .500 since the final day of May.

Here are the takeaways from Friday’s game:

Short but not sweet for Howard

The last time that Howard faced the Angels was in 2022 when he beat the Halos behind five shutout innings. On Friday, the tables turned on the Giants’ right-hander.

Howard (0-1) gave up a single to Los Angeles leadoff hitter Nolan Schanuel on the fourth pitch of the game then lost control over the next two innings. He gave up three hits, two walks and a run in the second, then walked two more and allowed three hits and three runs in the third.

Austin Slater’s throwing error following Kevin Pillar’s double helped score one of the Angels’ runs off Howard, who lasted 2 1/3 innings, walked four and struck out one.

It’s Howard’s shortest start since he went 2 1/3 innings against the Philadelphia Phillies on June 5, 2021 when he was pitching for the Texas Rangers.

Soler warming up?

Jorge Soler has yet to deliver the way the Giants hoped he would when they signed him to a $42 million, three-year deal in the offseason, but there are signs that the Cuban slugger is starting to heat up.

Soler reached base three times in four plate appearances against the Angels. He drew a leadoff walk in the second then singledoff starter and former Giant Tyler Anderson in the fourth. After striking out in the sixth, Soler was hit by a pitch and scored in the bottom of the eighth.

Soler was hitting just .199 at the end of May, but in the 11 games since then has been swinging the bat well since the calendar flipped to June. Soler is batting .300 this month (12 for 40 with three walks).

Manager Bob Melvin has maintained the belief all season that it would only take a couple good games for Soler to find his rhythm. Soler might not yet be fully back to form, but he’s definitely trending in the right direction.


Like a lot of Giants’ batters, Flores hasn’t quite lived up to expectations at the plate this season. But the 32-year-old made a little bit of history with his fourth-inning single.

It marked the 1,000th hit of Flores’ major league career and made him the 17th Venezuelan-born player with at east 1,000 career hits and 150 home runs.

Flores entered the day with a .218 batting average that was the lowest of his career since his rookie season in 2013.

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