Alex Cobb, Michael Conforto fuel win over Twins

What we learned as Cobb, Conforto fuel Giants’ win over Twins originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

MINNEAPOLIS — The second game of the Giants’ series against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field was billed to be a pitcher’s duel.

It featured the only two MLB pitchers who entered Tuesday with an ERA below 2.00 — Giants right-hander Alex Cobb (1.94) and Twins starting pitcher Sonny Gray (1.64).

But on Tuesday night, it was Giants outfielder Michael Conforto once again owning the headlines and leading the way in San Francisco’s 4-3 victory. Conforto’s two-run blast in the seventh inning gave the Giants the first and only lead they needed.

The Giants, who were six games below .500 just eight days ago, now are 7-1 in their last eight contests and are back to the .500 mark for the first time since they were 3-3 on April 6.

Here are three takeaways from the Giants’ win at Target Field:

Conforto keeps crushing

Conforto is a man on fire.

The outfielder kept his hot streak alive Tuesday night with a 373-foot, two-run blast in the seventh inning that was the Giants’ first timely hit of the evening. He also doubled in the sixth inning to fuel a rally that finally woke up the Giants’ offense.

Conforto, who raised his OPS+ over 100 with a home run Monday night, now has 10 home runs on the season with six in the last 12 games.

He’s now just four dingers away from matching his total in his last full season in the big leagues when he smacked 14 in 125 games with the New York Mets in 2021.

Another quality start

Cobb, the Giants’ steadiest starting pitcher this season, didn’t have his most dominant stuff Tuesday night, but it was enough to keep the Giants close.

He logged his fifth quality start of the season, allowing three runs on five hits with a season-high eight strikeouts over seven innings of work.

Cobb’s only mistakes ended up being parked in the bleachers. With Twins shortstop Carlos Correa scratched from the lineup just 90 minutes before first pitch, Twins designated hitter Byron Buxton took on the starring role and pummeled a splitter in the first inning. Michael A. Taylor found the seats on a splitter in the fifth for a 3-0 lead.

But other than that, Cobb limited the damage. The Twins only had one opportunity with runners in scoring position all game, but Cobb escaped by winning an eight-pitch battle and striking out Kyle Farmer in the fourth.

Patient rally

The Giants’ offense failed to capitalize on its opportunities until finally breaking through in the sixth inning and took their time doing so.

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J.D. Davis drew a walk, Conforto doubled and Mitch Haniger walked to load the bases. After two pinch-hitters failed to do any damage, rookie catcher Patrick Bailey walked on four pitches to bring in San Francisco’s first run of the game. Bryce Johnson followed suit with a walk to bring home another.

Four walks, one hit and two runs. The Giants were still waiting for a big hit at the time, which they finally saw thanks to Conforto’s hot bat.

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