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Belt's blistering week ends with winning homer

Special to MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Outside of a few minor tweaks he made to his swing in Spring Training, Giants first baseman Brandon Belt insists his approach at the plate hasn't changed all that much. The results, however, have been far better than anyone could have expected.

Belt's latest power display came Sunday when he and teammate Nick Hundley hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning as the Giants rallied to beat the Colorado Rockies, 9-5, for a split of their four-game series.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Outside of a few minor tweaks he made to his swing in Spring Training, Giants first baseman Brandon Belt insists his approach at the plate hasn't changed all that much. The results, however, have been far better than anyone could have expected.

Belt's latest power display came Sunday when he and teammate Nick Hundley hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning as the Giants rallied to beat the Colorado Rockies, 9-5, for a split of their four-game series.

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"I've known my approach to work in the past," Belt said. "At times I'd get away from it. I think I'm just sticking with it now through thick and thin and working on it as hard as I can and doing it to the best of my ability. When I get a pitch in my zone, I'm doing something with it."

It was Belt's 11th home run this season and the fifth in seven games for the first baseman, who made a rare start in left field. The homer went 408 feet at a launch angle of 23 degrees with an exit velocity of 107.6 mph.

Video: COL@SF: Belt clobbers a go-ahead 3-run HR in the 7th

"You feel good when he's up there," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's really been swinging the bat so well and it's been over an extended period of time. Right now he's doing a good job of carrying us at times."

A day earlier Belt repeatedly praised hot-hitting shortstop Brandon Crawford for being the key to San Francisco's offensive success. At this point, however, it's difficult to tell which Brandon has been more valuable.

Crawford singled and scored in three at-bats. He's been one of the top hitters in all of baseball this month while going 32-for-72 (.444).

Belt hasn't had the overall numbers but has been equally impressive. Over the last eight games he's batting .469 (15-for-32) with five home runs and 11 RBIs.

"It's a combination of both [plate coverage and power]," Rockies starter Tyler Anderson said. "He's got a good swing and right now he's swinging at strikes and he's seeing the ball well."

Gorkys Hernandez also homered, his second in three days, to send the Giants into the off-day with a win. San Francisco had played 17 consecutive games without a break, its longest stretch of the season so far.

Video: COL@SF: Hernandez crushes a 2-run homer to center

The Giants needed it on a day when Rockies shortstop Trevor Story had two RBIs and made a stellar defensive play. Colorado also got three hits from Nolan Arenado but it wasn't enough.

Coming off a 17-hit game Saturday, the Giants trailed, 4-1, and had a run erased by replay review but scored twice in the fifth and twice in the sixth, then powered up in the seventh.

Hernandez hit a leadoff single against Rockies reliever Bryan Shaw and moved to second following a one-out walk to Evan Longoria. Belt then turned on a 1-0 pitch and crushed it into the right-field stands to put the Giants ahead, 8-5.

Hundley followed with a more modest homer that went 380 feet with a launch angle of 23 degrees and exit velocity of 98.3 mph.

Video: COL@SF: Hundley goes back-to-back in the 7th

Sam Dyson (2-0) allowed one run and retired three batters to win.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Left them loaded: The Rockies scored twice in the fifth but missed a critical opportunity to add on when they left the bases loaded. Giants reliever Cory Gearrin forced in a run with a walk to Noel Cuevas but got out of the jam by getting Carlos Gonzalez to strike out looking.

Video: COL@SF: Gearrin K's Gonzalez to avoid further damage

Denied: Colorado led, 2-1, in the fourth and tried to add on when Pat Valaika doubled over the head of Belt in left field with two outs. Cuevas attempted to score from first but was thrown out at the plate on a perfect relay throw from Gold Glove-winning shortstop Crawford to catcher Hundley .

Video: COL@SF: Crawford relays home to throw out Cuevas

SOUND SMART
Giants reliever Will Smith struck out the side in the sixth and has not allowed an earned run this season. The lefty, who sat out all of 2017 following Tommy John surgery, has yielded only three hits over his eight innings, with 11 strikeouts and two walks.

Video: COL@SF: Smith strikes out the side in the 6th

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Posey began the day at first base but was moved back to catcher in the eighth and came up with a stellar game-ending play in the ninth. After Story singled with one out and took second without a throw one out later, Giants reliever Hunter Strickland bounced a pitch to Gerardo Parra. Story took off for third but Posey quickly jumped up and leaped in the air to grab the ball, then fired a strike to third baseman Longoria to nail Story for the final out.

Video: COL@SF: Posey's tough throw, Longoria's tag seal win

UP NEXT
Following an off-day, the Giants begin an eight-game road trip Tuesday in Houston. Left-hander Andrew Suarez (1-3, 4.88 ERA) pitches for San Francisco and will try to get his season back on track after allowing 15 earned runs over his previous 27 2/3 innings. Right-hander Gerrit Cole (4-1, 1.75) takes the mound for the Astros.

Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area.

San Francisco Giants, Brandon Belt, Nick Hundley