Conforto's 3-run homer in 4-run 1st leads Giants over Twins 4-1

Michael Conforto swings the bat and hits the ball
San Francisco Giants' Michael Conforto hits a three-run home run against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning of a baseball game Monday, May 22, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Bruce Kluckhohn | AP

Michael Conforto hit a three-run homer and the first four San Francisco Giants batters scored in a 4-1 win over the Minnesota Twins on Monday night.

San Francisco has won six of seven and at 23-24 is one game under .500 for the first time since the Giants were 5-6.

Lamonte Wade Jr. walked on eight pitches and Mike Yastrzemski on five, and J.D. Davis doubled on the 15th pitch from Bailey Ober (3-1) for the go-ahead run. Conforto hit a belt-high 1-0 fastball into the visitors bullpen in left-center for his ninth home run this season.

“Lamonte's at-bat to lead off the game was really the tone-setter for the day and arguably the most important at-bat that we had,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “Maybe the one that won the game for us.”

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Conforto missed the 2022 season with a shoulder injured that needed surgery. He also drew a walk in the sixth.

“The guys before me set the table with great at-bats, not chasing up there, kind of forcing him back down into the zone,” Conforto said. “I think that really kind of set it up for my at-bat going up there.”

Sean Manaea (2-2) struck out eight in 3 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of opener John Brebbia, allowing three hits and three walks. Tristan Beck relieved with runners on second and third and induced Byron Buxton's inning-ending groundout in the fifth.

Scott Alexander struck out the side in the ninth around a walk and a hit batter to get his first save this year.

“Obviously a bullpen game, it’s a really challenging thing to pull off,” Kapler said. “You think it’s potentially going to be back and forth a little bit, so it’s nice to get that cushion to work with and impressive that everybody on our staff was able to make that hold up tonight.”

Minnesota struck out 16 times, matching a season high. Twins batters lead the major leagues with 474 strikeouts.

“We need to have more good swings, more good at-bats than what we’re seeing,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "It’s a little frustrating, but what are we going to do right now about it? It starts tomorrow. Totally new situation tomorrow and we have to attack it.”

Ober settled down after the first with four scoreless innings. He allowed three hits and three walks over five innings in his first loss since Sept. 21 at Kansas City.

“Just having trouble getting ahead of those guys, especially the first two batters," Ober said. “If I could redo it, I’d re-face those first two guys and definitely try to get in the zone a whole lot better than I did.”

Kyle Garlick homered in the eighth off Beck. Garlick entered as a pinch hitter for Alex Kirilloff in the third.

Welcome back, Taylor

The Twins played a tribute video to Giants reliever Taylor Rogers, who spent his first six seasons in the majors with Minnesota. Rogers was an All-Star with the Twins in 2021 and was traded to San Diego Padres in April 2022. Rogers had 50 saves and a 3.16 ERA with the Twins.

Trainer’s room

Giants: Manager Gabe Kaplan said RHP Logan Webb, who left his start Saturday after six innings, had scans on his back and side that didn't reveal any structural issues. Webb threw from 90 feet and is expected to take his next turn.

Twins: Twins RHP Tyler Mahle had Tommy John surgery Monday. Texas Rangers physician Dr. Keith Meister operated. ... Buxton went 0 for 3 with a strikeout after missing Sunday's game with a sore right knee.

Up next

RHP Alex Cobb (3-1, 1.94 ERA) starts Tuesday for the Giants, looking to bounce back from his shortest start of the season in which he went just 3 1/3 innings. The Twins will counter with RHP Sonny Gray (4-0, 1.64), winless since April 30.