Belt muscles up vs. lefties in home state
First baseman slugs two homers in Giants' win over Rangers
ARLINGTON -- Texas native Brandon Belt pondered his extensive guest list for the Giants' Interleague game Saturday night against the Rangers. San Francisco's first baseman estimated he left 25 tickets for relatives and friends.
"At least I was able to show them something," said Belt, who displayed power by recording his second career two-homer game. His second long ball followed Hunter Pence's tiebreaking leadoff homer in the 11th and cemented the Giants' 9-7, 11-inning triumph.
Belt's first homer of the evening, which christened the third inning and opened the Giants' scoring, was distinctive. It was the first homer hit this season by a left-handed batter off lefty Cole Hamels, the highly sought pre-Trade Deadline commodity who made his Rangers debut.
It also was Belt's first homer off a left-handed pitcher since April 23, when he connected off Colorado's Rex Brothers. For emphasis, Belt victimized another lefty, Sam Freeman, with his 11th-inning drive.
Though Belt has appeared in 95 of San Francisco's 103 games, he realizes his vulnerability to left-handed pitching reduces his playing time slightly. Belt's .212 batting average against left-handers entering Saturday has made it easier for manager Bruce Bochy to start Buster Posey at first base occasionally and bench Belt against tough lefties.
Belt performed respectably against left-handers in previous seasons, hitting .266 off them last year and .261 in 2013. He believes he can regain that competence. He hoped this game launched a resurgence.
"It was important for me to get back to seeing left-handers a little bit better -- seeing the ball a little deeper," he said. "I've had a pretty good track record against lefties. I didn't start out great against them this year, but I know that I can come back."