SF Giants first baseman Brandon Belt started his first game since hitting the injured list with knee inflammation in May. The left-handed bat swatted a solo homer run, but that was not enough as the Giants dropped the final game of the series against the Kansas City Royals.
SF Giants first baseman Brandon Belt blasts solo shot in 3-2 loss to the Royals
The good news is that the Giants took two out of three games in the series. They had a chance to take the third game, but the offense was flat and a defensive miscue led to the loss.
Belt provided a jolt to the offense in the way he typically does. The 34-year-old first baseman recorded four at-bats on Wednesday. He worked a full count in three of them and had several bunt attempts.
In his second at-bat of the game, Belt fought off several offerings from Royals starter Jonathan Heasley. In the eighth pitch of the sequence, Belt blasted a long home run to center field to cut the two-run deficit in half in the fourth inning.
The Giants continued to put together gritty at-bats in that inning and tied the game at two thanks to a sacrifice fly from Curt Casali to plate Thairo Estrada. The bad news is that the offense could not muster anything else for the rest of the game.
The game started on a sour note with the Giants yielding two quick runs behind starter Sam Long. Long allowed two early baserunners but he was on the way to getting out of the game. The lefty induced a ground ball from Royals catcher M.J. Melendez, but Brandon Crawford did not field the ball cleanly, allowing both runners to cross home plate.
The Royals tacked on one more run in the eighth inning thanks to a leadoff double from Andrew Benitendi. The Royals outfielder advanced to third base on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a sacrifice fly. They manufactured a run and that proved to be the difference in the game.
Crawford's crucial error certainly did not help, but the Giants offense has to find a way to produce more consistently. Two runs will not win a lot of games.
On a different note, Wednesday's game marked Crawford's 1,500th game with the Orange and Black. It has been an incredible ride and he continues to add to an impressive career résumé
The Giants will hop onto a plane and head to Pittsburgh for a three-game series against the Pirates. They are 8-6 in June, but it feels like they should have a better record given some of the teams they have played including the Royals.