The San Francisco Giants will attempt to climb above the .500 mark for the first time this season when they try to complete a three-game series sweep of the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday afternoon in Minneapolis.
Right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (3-3, 3.09 ERA) gets the start for the Giants, who have won three straight and seven of their past eight games. DeSclafani is 0-1 with an 8.38 ERA in two career games (one start) against the Twins.
Minnesota, which has dropped five of its past six games but still sits atop the American League Central, will counter with right-hander Joe Ryan (6-1, 2.25 ERA). The San Francisco native is a perfect 3-0 at Target Field this season, with wins over the Houston Astros, New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs. He struck out 10 batters in two of those three contests.
Ryan won his lone previous outing against San Francisco, helping pitch the Twins to a 9-0 victory over the visiting Giants on Aug. 26, 2022. He allowed two hits and three walks over six innings while striking out eight.
He will try to cool down a Giants team that won 4-1 in the Monday opener behind a three-run homer by Michael Conforto and followed that up by rallying from an early 3-0 deficit to pull out a 4-3 victory on Tuesday -- thanks to a go-ahead, two-run homer from Conforto off reliever Jorge Lopez in the seventh inning.
The win put the Giants, who have been as many as seven games below .500, at 24-24 for the season -- the first time since they were 3-3 on April 6 that they have been .500.
"Obviously, it's been a good run to get here," Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. "It speaks to the even nature of this team. We're not going to get too high or too low. Playing good baseball, and we're not going to get too high about that because there's going to be some ups and downs moving forward."
Conforto added, "It's huge for the team. We're going to take it just one game at a time, keep trying to do the same things and come away with a sweep tomorrow."
Conforto's opposite-field home run to left barely cleared the fence on Tuesday. It was his sixth long ball in the past 12 games.
"I didn't think so," he admitted when asked if he thought the 373-foot drive was out when it left the bat. "I just got enough."
The Twins had built a 3-0 lead thanks to a two-run, first-inning homer by Byron Buxton and a solo shot by Michael A. Taylor in the fifth. However, the Giants pushed across two runs in the sixth on bases-loaded walks by Patrick Bailey and Bryce Johnson, setting the stage for Conforto's winning blast an inning later.
"It's easier to envision coming back from a 3-0 hole when Michael Conforto is swinging the bat the way he is," Kapler said. "He can go deep at any time, and he can go deep to any part of a really big ballpark, so that's reassuring."
Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli pointed to the Giants' sixth inning as the turning point. San Francisco had just one hit in the two-run inning, a double by Conforto, but took advantage of four walks by three Twins pitchers to push across two runs.
"The walks in the sixth inning, that's the big story of the game tonight," Baldelli said. "We were lucky to even be in the ballgame at that point. When you're putting four guys on in an inning, you're not normally going to still be in any ballgame when you're doing that, especially a tight ballgame."
"We're still playing well," said Twins starter Sonny Gray, who allowed two runs in five-plus innings. "We're in every game. It's a swing here, a half-inning there. ... We're just coming out on the bad end of some games right now."
--Field Level Media