Belt: 'We just don't give up'
PHOENIX – Call it telepathy. Call it alchemy. Call it whatever you want.
The Giants just keep turning lead to gold in the late innings. And Brandon Belt hit the mother lode Wednesday night.
“We believe somebody’s going to do it,” said Belt, “and somebody does it. It’s amazing.”
It’s your 2013 Giants, at least through one month and one day. They have nine comeback wins among their 16 victories after Belt’s three-run home run wiped out a two-run deficit in the eighth inning of a 9-6 victory at Chase Field.
Belt’s home run was the sixth the Giants have hit this season in the eighth inning or later that either tied the game or put them ahead.
“These guys have been amazing,” said manager Bruce Bochy, with emphasis on that last word. “They’re not base hits. We need the long ball, and they’re coming through.”
In this new Bizarro Giants world, the starting pitchers continue to struggle (Tim Lincecum: 5 innings, 10 hits, 5 earned runs), and yet they’ve spit the hook more often than the smartest fish in the pond.
The Diamondbacks cannot bring Belt into the boat. He is 7 for 17 with eight RBI – and three huge late-inning hits – in six games against them. He has hit three homers against Arizona, too. He has hit zero homers against everyone else.
“He’s still not quite there with his consistency,” said Bochy, adding he might tweak the lineup and move up Belt from the No. 8 spot. “He hasn’t hit them a lot, but they’ve been huge ones. That’s why average is overrated. It’s when you get your hits, and he’s getting huge hits for us.”
Against Arizona, though, the Cactus League’s leading home run hitter must be closing his eyes and envisioning himself at Salt River Fields.
Belt was asked: Did Hunter Pence whisper anything to him, as he did to plant a seed with Pablo Sandoval before his huge homer saved them in the ninth a night earlier?
No, Belt said. Not in a manner of speaking.
“He was thinking I was going to do it from second base and I did it,” he said, smiling. “It’s synergy. That’s what it is – synergy
“Put it on a shirt. I want to see it on a shirt.”
Pence was wearing a shirt that someone sent to him with “TOGETHER” on the front, with the G in the shape of the Giants’ logo. It had the text of his speech in Cincinnati on the back. Pence wasn’t so comfortable about that part – he isn’t a self promoter – but he liked the message on the front.
Now Belt wants one, too.
“I like free stuff,” he said.
Maybe the Giants didn’t get a victory for free Wednesday night, but the Diamondbacks bullpen sure provided a steep discount. Thanks to a bunch of walks, the Giants scored five runs on just two hits over the final two innings.
They’ve scored 17 runs (and hit five homers) in the eighth inning or later in their six games against Arizona.
Pence hit his home run in the sixth inning, but it might have been the eighth when it landed on the North Rim. His shot to just right of center field was estimated at 460 feet – if accurate, the longest homer of his career.
“Seems like he’s up there swinging a golf club and hitting a golf ball, the way it takes off,” Belt said. “It’s unbelievable. I’ve never seen anyone else like him.”
Pence’s homer only made it a 5-4 deficit, and it counted the same as a wall scraper. That’s the way he saw it, anyway.
“All that matters is that it goes over the fence,” said Pence, who tends to be a little more serious in his postgame interviews.
It must’ve felt good off the bat though, right?
“It felt good when Belt hit that three-run homer and we got a lead,” Pence said. “It’s all about competing. That’s all that matters. And he’s been really clutch for us. It was such a big hole and we climbed out of it. It just shows you that he’s going to be a good hitter.
“We believe we’re going to win. That’s our mindset. That’s our goal.”
As Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.
“I agree with that,” Pence said. “Everything starts as an idea.”
A question about the upcoming Dodgers series followed, but Pence was half listening to it. He was reacting to a highlight on a clubhouse TV.
“Oooh, man!” said Pence, watching as Belt dropped his bat and raised his eyebrows.