SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Michael Conforto hit a two-run homer off Ryan Yarbrough to cap a three-run rally in the eighth inning that sent the San Francisco Giants to a 3-1 win over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.
One day after blowing a 4-0 lead in the eighth and losing their second consecutive game to Kansas City, the Giants turned the tables.
Bryce Johnson started the comeback with a one-out single off Yarbrough (0-1). Thairo Estrada flied out before Wilmer Flores doubled in the tying run, with Johnson racing around the bases to score.
“He fired me up from the on-deck circle,” Conforto said. “I’m down there supposed to tell him which way to slide, so I had a great view of it. It’s just an incredible play. Just an all-around great inning sets it up for me to have that at-bat. I just kept it simple.”
Conforto then drilled a 72 mph curveball over the right-center wall for his third homer since signing with San Francisco as a free agent in January. The outfielder sat out last season while recovering from shoulder surgery.
“I think one of the contributions that nobody sees is the calm presence that (Conforto) is,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “He’s had some struggles early in the season. We were talking about potentially giving him a day off today. But his contributions have been professional and calm and measured. He understands that this is a really long season and you’re going to go through stretches of games where you don’t necessarily get the big hit. A moment like this was inevitable coming for Michael, and glad he had a big one for us today.”
It was Conforto's 28th career homer off a left-hander - he's hit 107 against righties. He began the day with a .225 career batting average vs. lefties.
“I’ve been working really hard on just keeping my shoulder in against lefties,” Conforto said. “I’ve been a little uncomfortable against them and that was just kind of the culmination of some work. Just the reaction from my teammates, the fans, was great.”
John Brebbia (1-0) retired one batter in relief for the win. Tyler Rogers worked the ninth for his first save.
Until the eighth, the Royals appeared well on their way to completing the series sweep.
Kris Bubic was dazzling in his second start of the season for Kansas City, matching his career high of nine strikeouts in six innings. He retired 10 straight after hitting Conforto, the No. 3 batter, with a pitch in the first inning.
Bubic didn’t allow a hit until David Villar’s leadoff single in the fifth. He worked out of a two-on, two-out jam in the same inning and set down his final four hitters.
Kansas City backed him with steady relief until the Giants tied it.
The Royals again were kept mostly quiet on offense but broke through for a run against Giants starter Anthony DeSclafani in the fourth. Vinnie Pasquantino hit a two-out double and scored on Salvador Perez’s single.
A day earlier, Perez hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning to spark Kansas City’s 6-5 victory after being down 4-0.
DeSclafani, unbeaten in his past 11 appearances against American League teams, had seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. He allowed three hits and walked none.
The Giants optioned INF Matt Beaty to Triple-A Sacramento and recalled OF Heliot Ramos, who started in left field and batted eighth.
Giants: C Gary Sánchez could be back in the big leagues soon. San Francisco’s depth at catcher is being tested with Roberto Perez (strained shoulder) on the 60-day injured list and Joey Bart (mid-back strain) on a rehab assignment. Sánchez was the DH at Triple-A Sacramento in his season debut Saturday and went 1 for 4 with a two-run single and two strikeouts.
Royals: RHP Zack Greinke (0-2, 2.38 ERA) pitches Monday at Texas.
Giants: RHP Logan Webb (0-2, 6.55 ERA) faces Dodgers LHP Julio Urías (2-0, 1.50) on Monday in San Francisco’s first game against a National League team this season.
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