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San Francisco Giants: Belt, Cueto Lead Way in Victory in Anaheim

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 22: Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants flys out after setting a new MLB record with a 21 pitch at bat in the first inning of the game off starting pitcher Jaime Barria #51 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on April 22, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 22: Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants flys out after setting a new MLB record with a 21 pitch at bat in the first inning of the game off starting pitcher Jaime Barria #51 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on April 22, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
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The San Francisco Giants, as a whole (outside of Cory Gearrin,) all played extremely well today, playing a gritty game and coming out on top on the road. While each starter did log a hit, let’s start with the star of the offense: Brandon Belt.

Turns out Belt can really hit away from AT&T Park. The San Francisco Giantsd first baseman had a great series, hitting home runs in each game, and finished strong today – breaking a record in the process.

In his first at bat, he  single-handedly forced Angels SP Jaime Barria to an early exit, coaxing 21 pitches out of the rookie to break the record form most pitches seen in an MLB at bat. Barria would go on to pitch 77 pitches over just two innings, forcing the Angels to go into their bullpen.

Later on in the game, he would go on to hit a sharp single and a monstrous home run. He now leads the team in that category with four home runs.

Meanwhile, Evan Longoria launched a bomb of his own, taking advantage of a hanging slider from Neil Ramirez to continue his offensive upswing.

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Joe Panik is also looking comfortable at the top of the lineup, slapping the ball around for three singles, although only coming around to score for one run.

Not to be outdone was starting pitcher Johnny Cueto, who is making last year’s struggles seem more and more like an aberration. Opting in to the last four years of his contract could prove to be the rare win-win contract option scenario.

He pitched six solid innings, allowing just four baserunners on two hits and two walks. Meanwhile, he struck out seven Angels, often using an absolutely filthy changeup to finish them off.

His 0.35 ERA leads all qualified starting pitchers so far this season, and us Giants fans should just pray for good health from the shoulder shaking righty, as he is really fun to watch when he’s on.

Cueto also finished a sterling 3-6-1 double play to cap off his night in the sixth after a hard ground ball from Luis Valbuena was fielded cleanly by Belt. The bases were loaded, so Belt threw to Crawford who just committed an error and Crawford fired a throw to Cueto who was covering first.

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That play and Cueto’s priceless reaction totally electrified the Giants dugout, and again he’s just so much fun to watch!

Bullpen-wise, Reyes Moronta and Tony Watson continued to impress. Cory Gearrin gave up the only runs of the game due to a homer from Mike Trout, but really who could blame him?

Closer Hunter Strickland finagled his way out of a hairy first-and-third situation in the ninth, and should probably continue seeing save opportunities (anyone else excited for his inevitable matchup with Bryce Harper during the Nationals series?).

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