The Giants Hitting Shows Its Versatility
For the second straight night the Giants won a game thanks to an opposite field home run by Michael Conforto. This time, in the 4-3 win over the Twins at Rod Carew Park, Conforto hit a high, towering two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning off Twins reliever Jorge Lopez after Thairo Estrada lead off the inning with a text-book opposite field double on a first pitch fastball.
That hit gave the Giants the lead for the first time in the game after they fell behind 3-0 after the bottom of the fifth inning.
Opposite field is the theme of this game. Conforto’s long ball now gives him ten for the season along with twenty-four RBIs.
Target (Field) practice 🎯 pic.twitter.com/2UWjM8ALDO
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) May 24, 2023
He is now, as they say in baseball parlance, “en fuego“. That’s “on fire” for you. non-Spanish speakers. Conforto’s opposite field homer run came on a hanging curveball out over the plate. If Michael tries to pull that ball he grounds out to second. That opposite field approach has been a big factor for a variety of Giants hitters. Earlier in the game Brett Wisely beat out an infield single on a routine grounder to short. Why did he reach base? Because he hit the ball the opposite way, against the Twins infield shift. By the time the Twins shortstop ranged far to his right to field the ball Wisely, a very fast runner and strong athlete, beat out the throw.
It’s little things like that, little things that become big things in the aggregate for the Giants hitters who have evolved into a more complete team thanks to their ability to get on base, drive in runs in different ways, and go the other way to punch a hit or hit a home run. This has been a key factor to their current hot streak. The Giants have now won seven of their last eight and have reached .500 at 24-24 for the first time since the sixth of April.
Another factor in this run has been excellent bullpen work and once again last night, Camilo Doval got the save with a scoreless ninth. He used mostly sliders, very hard, low sliders to get the three outs, allowing only a harmless hit by pitch on a 1-2 count. Doval now has 13 saves on the year.
Speaking of the pitching, this game featured Alex Cobb and Sonny Gray as the starters. Each pitcher was leading his respective league in ERA upon entering the game. Alex Cobb pitched exceptionally well except for two pitches. The first regret would be the cement-mixer slider that stayed belt high and on the inner half of the plate that Byron Buxton swatted over the left center field fence to give the Twins a 2-zip lead in the first. The second errant pitch was the exact duplicate of the first that ended up in nearly the same place: over the wall, this time in left and this time off the bat of Michael Taylor in the top of the sixth inning. That made it 3-0 Twins.
But the Giants would rally thanks to four walks by Twins pitchers. Two of those came from Sonny Gray in the top of the sixth inning and two more from Twins reliever Jovani Moran. Each of Moran’s walks allowed a run to score as the bases were loaded at the time.
Alex Cobb’s Numbers
As for Cobb, he pitched very well overall going seven innings and allowing only those three runs on six hits and one walk while striking out eight Twins batters. His ERA is still solid at 2.17. If he doesn’t throw those two errant pseudo-sliders he pitches a shutout, maybe a complete game version.
Today the Giants play for the three-game sweep with an afternoon contest that begins at 12:10 Twins time. It will be Desclafani versus Ryan on the mound to start the game.