Belt makes first bash of season count
First baseman launches 421-foot shot in first inning of win over Reds
CINCINNATI -- Brandon Belt doesn't have to bash home runs every night to be effective at his job.
But a little bashing now and then doesn't hurt.
"I had forgotten what that feels like," San Francisco's first baseman said Friday night after hitting his first homer of the season during a 10-2 win over Cincinnati at Great American Ball Park. "It's been a while."
Belt was the only full-time first baseman in the National League who had not gone deep until he stepped to the plate against Jason Marquis in the first inning. Belt connected on the first pitch and the ball rocketed inside the right-field foul pole and landed in a group of fans on the top concourse, a projected 421 feet by Statcast™.
It was Belt's first home run since last Sept. 25.
"It was a sinker in," Cincinnati catcher Brayan Pena said. "[Belt] just got the barrel to it and was able to keep it fair and not hook. He was able to stay inside the ball a lot better than we anticipated."
"That one would have been in the water in San Francisco," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Belt said he knows waterlogged home runs are not the primary statistical indicator of his productivity.
"I feel like I'm doing the right thing when I am hitting the ball hard, having good at-bats, getting on base, producing runs, creating runs, and not getting myself out," Belt said. "But if you hit the ball hard enough, it's just a matter of time before they go out."
It was the start of a big night for Belt, who would later add a single and a double that accounted for his fourth RBI of the game.
He needed that," Bochy said of the 27-year-old Texan, who broke out of a 1-for-13 funk, improved his season average to .291 and leads the Giants with nine doubles.
Belt, who broke into the big leagues in 2011, said he has become more effective over the last five years in correcting problems with his swing.
"I can't always say I know exactly what the problem is," Belt said. "I can't always fix it right away. It used to take four months sometimes. Now it's a couple days. I'm a lot better equipped [to fix problems] now than earlier in my career."