Giants

Source: Cueto decides not to test market, will stay with Giants

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Source: Cueto decides not to test market, will stay with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Throughout the second half of a disappointing season, Johnny Cueto hinted that he would return to the Giants. On Saturday it became official. 

Cueto declined to opt out of a six-year contract that he signed in December of 2015, locking him into the final four years, per a source. According to the original terms of his deal, Cueto had three days after this year's World Series to opt out and become a free agent. The deadline passed at 9 p.m. Saturday. The Giants now owe him $21 million in each of the next four seasons, with a $22 million club option in 2022 that includes a $5 million buyout. 

A year ago at this time, it seemed a lock that Cueto would jump back into free agency and try to hit a bigger payday. A lot has changed since then, for Cueto and the Giants. 

Cueto, who turns 32 during spring training, signed with the Giants after the 2015 offseason and immediately lived up to expectations with an All-Star 2016 season. The Giants always expected Cueto to test free agency after two seasons, but he dealt with blisters and flexor tendon discomfort and spent 45 games on the disabled list. When he was on the field, Cueto had just as many issues. He posted a 4.52 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 25 starts and finished his season by giving up 12 hits over five innings in the final game of the season. 

When asked about his looming decision, Cueto consistently said he loves playing in San Francisco, but he never went as far as saying he would absolutely be back, noting that he needed to consult with his agent, Bryce Dixon, in October. The Giants were under the belief that Cueto wanted to tweak his contract in order to return, perhaps guaranteeing one final year, but they weren't inclined to make any changes after the season Cueto had. Ultimately, no changes were made to the original deal. 

Giants win first series of 2018 season thanks to Cueto, Longoria and Belt

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Giants win first series of 2018 season thanks to Cueto, Longoria and Belt

BOX SCORE

Johnny Cueto threw six shutout innings to lower his ERA to 0.35 while Evan Longoria hit his 4th homer and Brandon Belt hit his 5th as the Giants beat the Angels 4-2 on Sunday.

Belt had an interesting day at the plate. In the first inning, he battled Angels rookie Jaime Barria for 21 pitches, setting the modern MLB record for longest at-bat. His homer in the fifth inning was his fourth straight game with a home run.

The Giants took two of three from the Angels and come home to open a series with the Nationals on Monday.

Brandon Belt sets modern MLB record with 21-pitch at-bat

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Brandon Belt sets modern MLB record with 21-pitch at-bat

ANAHEIM -- Brandon Belt of the San Francisco Giants saw 21 pitches in an epic plate appearance against Los Angeles Angels rookie right-hander Jaime Barria in the first inning Sunday, the most since records began in 1988.

The previous high of 20 pitches in a plate appearance since 1988 was when Houston's Ricky Gutierrez struck out against Cleveland's Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, according to Retrosheet.

The left-handed Belt peppered the crowd with plenty of souvenirs by fouling off 11 straight pitches, including two long fouls down the right-field line, before lining out to right fielder Kole Calhoun.

Belt was greeted with high-fives when he returned to the dugout.

It took nine pitches for Belt to work the count full, as he fouled off five pitches in the process. He swung and missed just once.

Angels pitching coach Charles Nagy made a mound visit to check on Barria after the Belt at-bat. Barria had thrown nine pitches to Joe Panik, who hit a leadoff single, before throwing 21 to Belt.

Barria threw 49 pitches in the first inning. He loaded the bases with one out before retiring Evan Longoria and Pablo Sandoval.