Monday, September 25, 2023
HomeNewsSchmitt stays start, Conforto homers again to beat Phillies

Schmitt stays start, Conforto homers again to beat Phillies

SAN FRANCISCO — With two more line-drive hits on Monday, Casey Schmitt continued his flying start to his big league-career. And unlike most of his impressive first week in the majors, his teammates followed suit and provided enough support to win as well.

Schmitt led off a six-run second inning with the first of his pair of hits and Michael Conforto homered for the fourth time in six games to put an exclamation mark on the rally, leading the Giants to a 6–3 victory over the Phillies . The win opened a six-game home standings, broke a three-game losing streak and improved San Francisco’s record to 18–23.

Schmitt added a double in the fifth inning to give him five multi-hit attempts in his first seven MLB games. The Giants have not had a player since 1970 began their career with as many hits as Schmitt (13-for-27) in his first seven games, and only three in franchise history can lay claim to such a good start to their careers – one of them is Willie McCovey.

Who impressed more last week: the rookie who hit .464 or the veteran who hit four home runs in six games? It was an easy question for Conforto.

“I’ll go with the rookie,” Conforto said. ‘He’s been great. We just watched him. He has a lot of energy. We all love his swing. He plays the game hard. He’ll just keep doing his thing and we’ll just keep pushing him in the right direction and hopefully he can keep doing what he’s doing for us.”

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The 24-year-old defensive whiz made his debut last Tuesday with a bang, becoming the 19th Giants player to hit a home run for his first hit in his first game, and didn’t slow down. Even after going hitless for the first time on Sunday, Schmitt posted a .458 batting average and 1,261 OPS in Monday’s series opener.

But the Giants had yet to take full advantage of the infusion of energy – and offensive firepower – in their batting order. In Schmitt’s first six games, they went 2–4.

Then, in the second inning, something happened. Schmitt led off with a line drive single into right field, an opposite field single that has become a routine sight in just a week. But Joey Bart followed by getting on base. Bryce Johnson singled in the middle. That handed the lineup to Thairo Estrada and Wilmer Flores, who each put the ball in play and forced misplays out of the Philadelphia defense.

Conforto delivered the big hit, sending a towering three-run shot just over the left field wall. The homer, Conforto’s fourth in six games, put the Giants ahead for good, but JD Davis immediately extended the rally with a double down the right field line, and Mitch Haniger and Brandon Crawford each cemented the lead with RBI hits.

All but one of the six hits in the inning were on the opposite field.

Every member of the starting lineup reached base, and all but one (Bart) contributed at least one hit.

“That’s kind of what we’re working towards,” Conforto said. “Not only being able to rely on the homer, but making runs and bringing in guys by hitting singles all over the place.”

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In addition to Schmitt, the Giants have gained miraculous strength from Conforto this past week. With two hits and another homer Monday, the free-agent pick-up has his average back above the Mendoza line (.205) and his OPS to .744. His eight home runs lead the team, and only one other player (Evan Longoria) has hit as many homers in six games since Gabe Kapler took over as manager.

“I have a good routine in the cage now,” said Conforto, delving deeper into the topic of pregame. “It was great to hit the ball out of the margin, but I have to keep working. I have to keep doing the things that got me to this point.”

The Phillies went with a right-handed opener in the first inning. But Kapler nonetheless put the Giants’ lineup with right-handed bats in preparation for the young left-hander, Bailey Falter, who was expected to be out most of the game. They jumped in second.

The six-run second place matched the Giants’ biggest rally of the season and their best offensive inning outside of Mexico City’s lubricated scoring environment.

It proved to be more than enough behind a strong performance from Alex Wood on his return to the rotation.



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