It was only a matter of time before Brandon Belt had a breakout game. Even after last year’s struggles, he’s too good of a hitter to just walk and hit the occasional single, even if those things are more valuable than he generally gets credit for.
Wednesday was that breakout game.
With the Giants trailing 2-0 in the fourth inning, and suddenly struggling to find runs at a park that prints you a gift certificate for 15 runs when you arrive, Belt stepped into the box and, well, take a look for yourself:
Suddenly the Giants led 3-2.
They’d add another run two innings later, when Belt roped a two-out double, and scored on a Wilmer Flores single. Two-out rallies! They live! Tell your friends!
That insurance run was needed because A) Coors Field, and B) Nolan Arenado. Arenado had a home run for the third straight game, after not having any extra-base hits before the Giants came to town. Because he is Nolan Arenado and they are the Giants, and that is their relationship. It’s not our place to meddle in their relationship. They’re all adults. They can make their own decisions.
Anyway, Belt ended the day having scored or knocked in all of the Giants runs, including doing both on one of them. That’s a pretty good day, and it promptly rose his season slash line to .235/.409/.471, while leading the Giants to a 4-3 win over the Colorado Rockies.
It was good to see.
He also struck out looking on this pitch, because he’s still Brandon Belt and he still can’t have all the good things, just some of them. This is his curse.
Speaking of things that are good to see, Pablo Sandoval had a two-hit night. Both hits were singles, neither was super impressive, and one never left the infield. But it was still good to see.
Sandoval is struggling in the biggest way to start the year, and with the Giants roster set to drop from 30 to 28 players on Thursday, he is emphatically on the fringe. Those hits helped.
Brandon Crawford is still struggling mightily — he’s 7-36 with no extra-base hits — but his defense has looked like it’s having a bounce-back year, though maybe I’m just being rosy. Either way, he had the defensive highlight of the game and, for the Giants, the season thus far:
The game had an ominous start for the Giants. In the bottom of the first, David Dahl led off by reaching on an error by Donovan Solano. Just a few waves of the arm later and Logan Webb had thrown a wild pitch, allowing Dahl to move to second, which allowed him to score on a Charlie Blackmon single.
Gifting runs. The Giants have been doing that nonstop this year, and while I Stan a kind and generous crew of ball players, it’s gone too far. It’s time to stop.
And for the time being it did. The Giants didn’t commit any other errors, which is a minor miracle for them. Webb settled down and into his best start of the season. He threw 50 of 68 pitches for strikes, including 12 of 18 first pitches. He gave up 4 hits and 0 walks in 5.0 innings, despite having a dubious defense in a troublemaking ballpark. He struck out 4.
It was a promising outing, and allowed the bullpen a little bit of rest.
And for the bullpen members who did play, things looked good. Caleb Baragar continues to impress, and Tyler Rogers had a nice inning while being trusted with a one-run lead in the eighth inning. Trevor Gott shut the door for his third save. Only Tony Watson allowed a run in relief, and that can be forgiven because it came from the bat of the aforementioned Arenado, who had to cash in his free home run at some point in the game. Just bad luck for Watson, really.
It didn’t result in anything, but Mike Yastrzemski had perhaps the most impressive play of the game for the Giants. Leading off the eighth inning, and needing an insurance run, Yastrzemski hit one up the middle. It seemed like a routine single, which was the problem for the Rockies. They played it like a routine single, and Baby Yaz took advantage of the passivity, and instead got a double out of it.
The Giants have been making a lot of dumb mistakes, and it was very nice to see them make the kind of advantage-giving smart play that teams are supposed to have. Yastrzemski is good, in case you’ve been living a rock, which I wouldn’t blame you at all for doing, in fact, now that I have your attention, can I join? Is it dark and quiet and completely shut off from the world? I’ll be there in 15.
I, for one, vote that they simply win the game. All in favor say aye.