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Conforto’s grand slam, Lee’s 1st MLB homer carry the Giants to a 9-6 win over the Padres

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Michael Conforto hit a grand slam, rookie Jung Hoo Lee hit his first big league home run and Jordan Hicks won his San Francisco debut as the Giants beat Dylan Cease and the San Diego Padres 9-6 on Saturday.

The Giants led 3-1 on just two hits going into the eighth before taking a 9-1 lead. Lee, who signed with the Giants after playing seven seasons in South Korea, homered to right-center with one out. The next six Giants batters reached base, with Wilmer Flores hitting an RBI single before Conforto sent his second career grand slam sailing over right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. and into the seats. All the damage was off lefty Tom Cosgrove. The Giants finished with nine hits.

Lee said he traded three signed balls and a hat for the ball. He seemed non-plussed about his shot.

“It’s just a feeling where I hit a home run and another point to the team,” he said through an interpreter.

He had a handful of family members at the game and got a clubhouse beer shower from his teammates.

Conforto homered on the ninth pitch of the at-bat.

“I feel like everything’s coming together at the right time, right at the beginning of the season,” he said. “It was a cool at-bat to have with bases loaded against that guy, he’s a good lefty. To battle and fight and kind of change my approach by the end of it, that felt really good.”

He changed his approach after almost falling down while swinging at the first two pitches.

“Now it’s time to fight and see it deep and shorten up the swing a little bit,” he said. “Kind of knew in the back of my mind at some point he would come back to the sinker and that ninth pitch he came back to it and I put a much better swing on it.”

San Diego closed the gap in the ninth on a two-run homer by Eguy Rosario and a three-run shot by rookie Graham Pauley for his first big league hit.

Hicks (1-0), who signed as a free agent on Jan. 18, was so effective that Cease (0-1) received no run support in going 4 2/3 innings in his Padres debut. He was acquired in a trade with the Chicago White Sox on March 13.

The three hits Hicks allowed were all singles to load the bases with one out in the fourth. Hicks then struck out Tyler Wade before rookie Jackson Merrill lined out to shortstop Nick Ahmed to end the threat.

Hicks struck out six and walked one.

Cease allowed two runs, three earned, and two hits in 4 2/3 innings while striking out six and walking two.

The Giants jumped on Cease for two runs in the second before second baseman Xander Bogaerts made a nice diving catch of Ahmed’s liner to save a run and end the inning. Wilmer Flores walked and Michael Conforto hit a bloop double to left with one out before Thairo Estrada hit a sacrifice fly. Tom Murphy followed with an RBI double.

The Giants added an unearned run in the fifth thanks to an error by Tatis, who won a Gold Glove Award and the NL’s Platinum Glove Award last year. Tom Murphy walked with one out and took third when Ahmed’s fly ball bounced off Tatis’ glove. Lee followed with a sacrifice fly.

Giants reliever Taylor Rogers allowed Jake Cronenworth’s two-out RBI double in the sixth.

The game started on time at 4:15 p.m. despite heavy morning rain. The sun was out by the sixth inning.

UP NEXT

Giants RHP Daulton Jefferies, coming off a second Tommy John surgery, is scheduled to make his first start since 2022 and will oppose Padres RHP Michael King (1-0).

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB

By BERNIE WILSON
AP Sports Writer

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