ANAHEIM -- Brandon Belt sent out an apology after the Giants' victory over the Angels on Sunday. He will no longer grow irritated when an opponent or teammate fouls off one pitch after another.Belt owned the stage, as much for his historic 21-pitch at-bat during a 4-2 win over the Angels, as
ANAHEIM -- Brandon Belt sent out an apology after the Giants' victory over the Angels on Sunday. He will no longer grow irritated when an opponent or teammate fouls off one pitch after another.
Belt owned the stage, as much for his historic 21-pitch at-bat during a 4-2 win over the Angels, as for hitting a home run in his fourth consecutive game played.
Belt hit 16 foul balls in the first-inning plate appearance against Angels starter Jaime Barria that ended with a fly ball to right field. The 21 pitches in the at-bat, which lasted about 13 minutes, were the most on record (since 1988) for a single trip to the plate.
Longest at-bats (since 1998)
- Giants' Brandon Belt vs. Angels' Jaime Barria, 21 pitches, April 22, 2018
- Astros' Ricky Gutierrez vs. Indians' Bartolo Colon, 20 pitches, June 26, 1998
- Astros' Kevin Bass vs. Phillies' Steve Bedrosian, 19 pitches, July 23, 1988
- (tie) A's Marcus Semien vs. Astros' Doug Fister, 18 pitches, June 3, 2016
- (tie) Angels' Adam Kennedy vs. Brewers' Luis Vizcaino, 18 pitches, June 10, 2004
- (tie) Dodgers' Alex Cora vs. Cubs' Matt Clement, 18 pitches, May 12, 2004
- (tie) Royals' Bip Roberts vs. Tigers' Felipe Lira, 18 pitches, May 18, 1997
- (tie) Angels' Brian Downing vs. White Sox Ken Patterson, 18 pitches, Sept. 1, 1990
"When I'm in the field I hate it when a batter keeps fouling pitches off," Belt said, sheepishly. "I'm like 'Dude, just put it in play. It's not that hard. Let's go.' So I basically had to apologize to everybody after that."
Belt had an eight-pitch at-bat in the third inning when he singled to right field and then crushed a deep home run to right in a nine-pitch at-bat in the fifth.
Giants starter Johnny Cueto said he went into the Giants' batting cage beneath the stands and threw a baseball against the netting during Belt's first-inning opus just to stay warm. The Giants saw 49 pitches in the first inning against Barria.
"It was a very good at-bat for him and it was good for him," Cueto said. "I was in the batting cage watching it. I tried to keep myself loose because I knew I had to go in and pitch."
Belt hit a home run at Arizona on Wednesday and another on Thursday against the D-backs. He did not play in Friday's game at Anaheim, which was his 30th birthday. Belt then hit a home run Saturday against the Angels and added another Sunday, his fifth of the season.
The last Giants player to hit a home run in four consecutive games played was Hunter Pence in 2013.
Belt's marathon first-inning at-bat bested the previous record of a 20-pitch duel between the Astros' Ricky Gutierrez and the Indians' Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998. That at-bat ended with a swinging strikeout for Colon.
"I've never seen anything like it," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "That was really amazing what happened there, on both sides, Belt and the pitcher to keep throwing strikes too and end up winning [the battle]. No question that played a part in his early exit because he had good stuff."
Barria ended up throwing 77 pitches in two-plus innings.
Barria was making his second appearance in the Majors, having been called up earlier in the day by the Angels to make the start against the Giants. His only other start came April 11 against the Texas Rangers, when he gave up one run over five innings and picked up the victory.
"I tried some changeups and used all my pitches, then finally with a fastball in I got him out," Barria said. "Yeah, there were some good pitches that I threw to him, especially with the curveball. But in the end, he kept making contact and fouling them off."
Andrew McCutchen had a good view of the first-inning battle from the on-deck circle.
"I'm not sure [Belt] was locked in, but he was fighting; he was battling," McCutchen said. "I'm sure he felt he didn't have anything [Barria] could actually throw by him."
It didn't take McCutchen long to realize the challenge he had next.
"You don't want to be the next guy to just ground out on the first pitch after that," said McCutchen, who singled to left field on the sixth pitch of the at-bat following Belt.
Belt's stalemate helped to set a no-quit tone for the Giants, but in reality he was just trying to stay afloat up there in the first inning.
"I wasn't seeing his slider very well, at first," Belt said. "I was just trying to see the pitch as well as I could. Honestly, this is the brightest place we've played at and it was kind of tough to see a little bit, so I was just trying to do the best I could to see the ball and put the bat on it."
Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who homered on the 18th pitch of an at-bat when he played for the Dodgers in May 2004, tweeted his appreciation for Belt's resilient approach.
Belt saw 40 pitches in five trips to the plate, but put the ball in play on the first pitch in each of his last two plate appearances. He had a first-pitch single in the seventh and a first-pitch flyout to left in the eighth.
"Maybe it was seeing pitches and tracking pitches that might get you locked in later on," Belt said. "My goal was to just have good at-bats out there and I was able to do that."
Doug Padilla is a contributor to MLB.com.