Giants rally past Twins 4-3 on Conforto's key double, go-ahead homer
With plenty of patience and couple of big swings by Michael Conforto, the San Francisco Giants pushed their record back to the .500 mark for the first time in 47 days.
Conforto doubled to spark a slow-developing sixth-inning rally and hit the go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh for the Giants, who rallied to beat the Minnesota Twins 4-3 on Tuesday night for their seventh win in eight games.
“It’s the kind of baseball that we want to play,” said Conforto, who homered for the second straight night and is batting .359 with five home runs and 12 RBIs in his last 10 games.
Giants starter Alex Cobb (4-1) finished seven innings for the third time in four starts this month, deftly working around a two-run home run by Byron Buxton in the first inning and a solo shot by Michael Taylor in the fifth that gave the Twins a 3-0 lead.
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“He really dug deep for us,” manager Gabe Kapler said.
The Giants stranded two runners in scoring position in the third and fourth innings against Twins starter Sonny Gray, who hit the wall in the sixth by walking J.D. Davis to start. Conforto crushed a double to the left-center gap, Mitch Haniger walked to load the bases and that was all for Gray, the major league ERA leader at 1.82. He threw 105 pitches, two short of his season high.
Jovani Moran got the first two outs, but Patrick Bailey walked to force in the first run. Brock Stewart entered and did the same to pinch-hitter Bryce Johnson.
Four walks. Two vital runs. One tough rally.
“We’re a patient team. Sometimes we’re going to go through stretches where we don’t do that, but I will say the key to the last couple games has been some big walks and a home run from Conforto in both of those games,” Kapler said.
With Jorge López (1-2) on the mound for the seventh, Thairo Estrada led off with a double and trotted home on Conforto's 10th homer of the season on a 1-1 curveball.
“That guy’s a really good swinger,” said López, who has allowed seven runs on 10 hits and six walks in 10 games this month. "I just lost.”
Camilo Doval pitched a hitless ninth inning for his 13th save in 14 attempts after a perfect eighth by Scott Alexander, in textbook succession after another stellar turn by Cobb. The right-hander, who's fourth in baseball in ERA at 2.17, is 4-0 in his last seven starts. The Giants have won six of those games to even their record for the first time they were 3-3 on April 6.
“A big part of getting to where you want to get to at the end of the season is limiting the damage when things aren’t going right, and I felt like we did a good job during that month of April to battle and not let the skids get too long,” Cobb said. “So now we’re just playing the type of ball that we expected to play when we were leaving camp.”
The Twins, who have been in first place in the AL Central for 53 of 55 days this season, lost for the sixth time in eight games. They have six or fewer hits in 10 of their 20 games in May.
“Pretty sure everybody in here feels like we should be winning,” Buxton said, adding: “Our vibe is perfectly fine. Everybody’s still high and upbeat, and we believe in ourselves.”
Giants: DH Joc Pederson missed his 10th game in a row with a bruised right hand, but Kapler said a rehab assignment will soon be considered.
Twins: LF Trevor Larnach went on the injured list before the game because of pneumonia. SS Carlos Correa was on the bench with a bruised left heel stemming from an awkward step on first base in the game on Monday night. He said he's unlikely to play on Wednesday afternoon.
Giants RHP Anthony DeSclafani (3-3, 3.09 ERA) takes the mound in the series finale on Wednesday, opposite Twins RHP Joe Ryan (6-1, 2.25 ERA). Ryan, a San Francisco native, has completed at least six innings in all nine starts and allowed a total of five earned runs over his last five turns.