This was the kind of game that allows you to sleep a little better at night. Unless, of course, you’re Brandon Belt.
“I’ve never been accused of not being able to sleep,” Belt said after a 10-2 win over the Reds.
Yes, the young first baseman is somewhat notorious in the clubhouse for his love of a good sleep-in day, so he didn’t need this breakthrough night to put him in the right mood when head meets pillow. But Belt’s 3-for-5 performance and his first homer will certainly boost the confidence -- and a lineup that already is getting a big jolt this weekend.
Hunter Pence will return to the lineup Saturday, Buster Posey is starting to hit for power, Angel Pagan is among the league leaders in hitting and Belt was able to shake off three very shaky games to have his best night of the season. You figure Bruce Bochy will sleep well tonight.
“It’s good to see Belt come out of it,” Bochy said. “The boys swung the bats well … It’s a good game for us. A good bounce-back after a couple tough losses. He needed that. He’s been in a little rut here the last three games. For him to make good contact and have a big night, that should do a lot for his confidence.”
Belt was 1-for-13 over the previous three games with eight strikeouts. He has had many similar ruts during his career, and often times the hole gets so deep that Bochy is forced to pull Belt from the lineup for a couple days. This time, Belt hit his way out of it, jacking a three-run homer in the first and later adding an RBI double.
“It’s not always as easy as just telling yourself to change,” he said of the slump. “Sometimes it takes a couple days like it did this last time, but it definitely beats four months like it (would take) earlier in my career. If I can keep it to a couple days I’m happy with that.”
Even without the homers, Belt was doing just fine before the team hit Houston this week. After Friday’s performance he’s hitting .291 with a .365 on-base percentage and .427 slugging percentage. The homer and double were pulled, but the best sign tonight may have been that in between those two extra-base hits came a single to left. Belt is always at his best when using the whole field.
“I feel like when I can go to that opposite field and that opposite field gap, that’s me,” he said. “I wanted to get back to the same approach I had last week. I was just looking to get up there and have good at-bats.”
The first regular season homer since Sept. 25 helped the Giants but may have come a couple days too late for the Belt family. There were a lot of Belts (including baby Greyson) in Houston to watch the Nacogdoches, Texas native take on the Astros, but Belt couldn’t put one out of the park in front of his big cheering section.
It doesn’t sound like he’ll lose any sleep over that one, either.
“It would have been nice, but I put on a nice show in BP, so I guess that’s going to have to suffice for now,” he said.