Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Belt helps Giants' offense come alive

@mi_guardado
April 2, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- Over their first four games of the season, the Giants scored five runs. Over their first four games of the season, the Dodgers scored 42 runs. Before Monday night’s series opener at Dodger Stadium, a local television reporter asked Giants manager Bruce Bochy what he thought about

LOS ANGELES -- Over their first four games of the season, the Giants scored five runs. Over their first four games of the season, the Dodgers scored 42 runs.

Before Monday night’s series opener at Dodger Stadium, a local television reporter asked Giants manager Bruce Bochy what he thought about the Dodgers’ prolific offensive output.

“I don’t want to think about it,” Bochy said. “That’s a lot of runs. There’s no getting around that.”

The Dodgers flashed their power early, launching a pair of solo home runs off left-hander Drew Pomeranz, but the Giants’ offense finally stirred to life and used timely hitting to propel the club to a 4-2 come-from-behind win in the first matchup of the season between the National League West rivals.

First baseman Brandon Belt led the way, launching a solo home run to put the Giants on the board and snapping a 2-2 tie with a two-run double off Dodgers reliever Scott Alexander in the seventh inning. Belt’s double capped a string of three consecutive two-out hits for the Giants, who improved to 2-3 on the season.

“After a tough weekend down in San Diego, it was good to have some success,” Bochy said. “That’s what it takes. We’re not a power-hitting club, so we’ve got to get those timely hits, get guys on base. It’s pretty simple. That’s what has to happen for us. We’re going to play a lot of close ballgames, so we need to execute. The guys did a good job.”

The Giants mustered only three hits against Los Angeles left-hander Julio Urias, who struck out seven over five scoreless innings in his first Major League start since May 20, 2017, but they had more success against reliever Joe Kelly.

Kelly replaced Urias to start the sixth and immediately surrendered a solo shot to Belt on a first-pitch fastball, cutting the Dodgers’ lead to 2-1. It was the second home run of the season for the Giants and the first for Belt, who improved to 6-for-7 against Kelly in his career.

“I think it doesn’t hurt whenever you’ve seen somebody before,” Belt said. “Just in general. The more you see them, the better idea you have going up there. But it doesn’t change the fact that he’s still a tough pitcher. I just wanted to go up there and keep things simple. Put the ball in play, try to start something. Fortunately, I got it good enough to go over the fence.”

San Francisco carried that momentum into the following inning and scored three more runs to complete its rally. Yangervis Solarte led off with a single, advanced to second on a groundout and scored on pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval’s two-strike single to tie the game at 2. Steven Duggar followed with a double to right-center field, putting runners on second and third with two outs.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts brought in Alexander to face Belt, who lined his 200th career double to center field to bring in the go-ahead runs.

“We definitely needed a big hit to kind of get us going,” Belt said. “It was a tough series in San Diego, so we wanted to change the tide when we came over here. Fortunately, I was able to do that, but honestly, those two at-bats leading up to it were pretty huge. Duggar’s might have been the biggest of the night, just keeping the line moving. That was a pretty good effort from a lot of people in that inning.”

Solid debut for Pomeranz

Pomeranz needed 44 pitches to get through the first two innings, but he settled in and limited the Dodgers to two runs on six hits over five innings in his Giants debut. The two blemishes came in the fifth, when Chris Taylor and Alex Verdugo homered to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.

“Pomeranz, he threw well,” Bochy said. “He got up there with his pitches, made a couple mistakes there in that fifth, but he showed good stuff and really competed well.”

Signed to a one-year contract over the offseason, Pomeranz is looking to rebound from a disappointing 2018 season that saw him post a 6.08 ERA as he struggled through injuries and a demotion to the bullpen with the Red Sox. Monday marked his first Major League start since Aug. 7, and he said he’s simply grateful to have the opportunity to pitch regularly out of a rotation again.

“I think that’s why I was a little amped up out there in the first couple innings,” Pomeranz said. “I was throwing harder than I had thrown in a while in a big league game. I’m happy for that. That first one, I was so excited to get out there. I was throwing some angry baseballs out there.”

Loud music blared through the visitor’s clubhouse following the Giants’ win, but it was a mild celebration compared to the revelry Pomeranz took part in last October after the Red Sox clinched the World Series title at Dodger Stadium.

“It was amazing to walk in here and see how good this place looks compared to last time I was here,” Pomeranz said.

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.