That mental break that manager Bruce Bochy wanted to give Brandon Belt? Turns out that was half the story. The other half was not advertised. Belt sat out the series in Philadelphia to work on two technical changes that the staff believed necessary for the first baseman to gain consistency. Belt moved farther back in the box to see pitchers longer. More important he was told not to curl his hands around the bat so far resulting in a looser grip. When Belt moved these changes from the workshop to the field Friday night he practically carried the Giants' offense in a 4-1 victory against the Rays their third straight win. Belt singled and homered on the first two pitches he saw from hot right-hander Chris Archer. In the seventh inning of a 1-1 game after Hunter Pence squibbed a two-out infield hit Belt worked the count and clobbered a triple off the wall in left-center to score Pence. Brandon Crawford followed with his second homer in four at-bats after he hit none for more than three months all but assuring Madison Bumgarner's 11th win. Bumgarner matched a season high with 11 strikeouts in seven innings. Belt grounded out in the ninth when a double would have given the San Francisco Giants their 11th cycle. "I didn't not think about it" Belt said smiling. "I was just trying to have a good at-bat. With my parents and in-laws here it would have been nice to share that moment with them." Instead the family shared Belt's first three-hit game since June 25. The changes that Belt was asked to make usually occur before players reach the majors. Fans who lose patience with Belt forget he had only 670 at-bats in the minors before he was promoted in 2011. Ideally hitters would get 1500 at-bats in the minors a long-held rule of thumb.
Belt's bat re-emerges to lift Giants over Rays
San Francisco Chronicle | Aug 3