Giants' Belt lines out after 21-pitch at-bat

Reuters

Brandon Belt's home run Sunday ranks as his second-most notable at-bat of the game.

The San Francisco Giants first baseman battled Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jaime Barria for 21 pitches in the first inning before lining out to right fielder Kole Calhoun.

The plate appearance was the longest since such records began being recorded in 1988. The old mark was a 20-pitch duel between Houston shortstop Ricky Gutierrez and Cleveland Indians pitcher Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, that resulted in a swinging strikeout.

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Belt, the second batter of the game, fell behind in the count 1-2. He fouled off two pitches, took a ball, fouled off two more, then took ball three. Belt hit foul balls on the next 11 pitches before putting the ball in play on a four-seam fastball.

"It's probably not the record I'd choose to break, but I didn't give the at-bat away," Belt said. "When I'm in the field I hate it when a batter keeps fouling pitches off. I'm like, 'Dude, just put it in play. It's not that hard. Let's go.' So I basically had to apologize to everybody after that."

The at-bat lasted 12 minutes, 45 seconds.

"He kept throwing strikes," Belt said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "He didn't really hang anything, maybe a couple. He did enough to throw me off, so I wasn't hitting it on the barrel. I was getting tired, but I didn't want to give in. I put too much effort into it."

Barria said, according to MLB.com, "I tried some changeups and used all my pitches, then finally with a fastball in, I got him out. Yeah, there were some good pitches that I threw to him, especially with the curveball. But in the end, he kept making contact and fouling them off."

Belt singled off Barria to cap an eight-pitch at-bat in the third inning, helping set up the game's first run. Leading off the fifth inning against Angels reliever Blake Parker, Belt belted the ninth pitch of his plate appearance for a home run to right field.

Leading off the seventh against reliever Jim Johnson, Belt hit the first pitch for a single. He again swung at the first pitch he saw from reliever Jose Alvarez in the eighth, flying out to end the inning.

Belt, 30, finished 3-for-5 as the Giants beat the Angels 4-2. He improved his batting average to .288, and the homer was his fifth of the season.

Barria, hampered by having to throw 21 pitches to a single batter, lasted just two-plus innings in his second major league outing. The 21-year-old Panamanian took the loss, falling to 1-1, after yielding two runs on five hits with one walk and one strikeout. He threw 77 pitches.

"I've never seen anything like it," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of the Barria-Belt battle. "That was really amazing what happened there, on both sides, Belt and the pitcher to keep throwing strikes, too, and end up winning (the battle). No question that played a part in his early exit because he had good stuff."

Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons said, "I don't want to do it again, but regardless of the result, it was fun to watch."

--Field Level Media

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