Giants

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

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

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM -- Brandon Belt hung in for an epic 21-pitch at-bat before flying out, but later homered to lead Johnny Cueto and the San Francisco Giants over the Los Angeles Angels 4-2 on Sunday.

Belt fouled off 11 straight pitches from rookie right-hander Jaime Barria in the first inning in the majors' longest at-bat 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.

In all, the left-handed Belt peppered the crowd with 16 foul balls his first time up. He hit two long fouls down the right-field line before lining out to right fielder Kole Calhoun, ending an at-bat the Giants said lasted 12 minutes, 45 seconds.

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

Angels pitching coach Charles Nagy made a mound visit to check on Barria (1-1) after Belt batted. Barria had thrown nine pitches to Joe Panik, who hit a leadoff single, before throwing 21 to Belt.

Belt singled and scored in the third and launched a leadoff homer to right against Blake Parker in the fifth. Belt saw a total of 38 pitches in his first three at-bats, then hit the first pitch his last two times up.

Cueto (2-0) allowed only two hits in six shutout innings against cleanup batter Shohei Ohtani and the Angels. Cueto took a no-hitter into the sixth and struck out seven.

Cueto twice fanned the lefty-hitting Ohtani by getting the Japanese two-way sensation to flail at change-ups. Cueto also struck out Mike Trout twice.

The Giants right-hander walked two, hit two batters and lowered his ERA in four starts to 0.35.

The Angels were scoreless until Trout hit a two-run homer in the eighth, his big league-leading ninth and his third in as many games. The opposite-field shot to right-center came off Cory Gearrin.

Los Angeles had runners on the corners with two outs in the ninth before Hunter Strickland got Ian Kinsler to fly out to center for his third save in five chances.

Kinsler led off the sixth with a single for the Angels' first hit. Ohtani singled with one out to load the bases, but Cueto got Luis Valbuena to ground into a 3-6-1 double play. Cueto excitedly pumped his right fist after taking the throw from shortstop Brandon Crawford.

Ohtani batted cleanup for the first time because Albert Pujols got his first day off this season. He finished 1 for 4.

Panik also had three hits apiece for the Giants, who took two of three for their first series win of the season.

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

Barria loaded the bases with no outs in the third before making way for Noe Ramirez. Joe Panik scored on Buster Posey's double-play ball and Evan Longoria followed with a two-run homer, his fourth.

Barria allowed two runs and six hits, struck out one and walked one. He got only six outs on 77 pitches.

OHTANI WATCH:
The 23-year-old threw a bullpen session some 90 minutes before first pitch and is scheduled to make his next start Tuesday at Houston. A blister on his right middle finger forced him out of his start after just two innings Tuesday night against Boston.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Angels: SS Andrelton Simmons suffered a bruised right forearm when he was hit by a pitch by Cueto in the second. He was replaced in the top of the third by Jefrey Marte.

UP NEXT:
Giants: RHP Chris Stratton (1-1, 2.22) is scheduled to start Monday night in the opener of a home three-game series with Washington, which counters with LHP Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 2.49).

Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs (2-1, 3.98) looks to go 3-0 on the road this season when he opens series at Houston versus UCLA product Gerrit Cole (2-0, 0.96).

MLB rumors: News, updates, trade talk Monday from 2018 Winter Meetings

mlblogousatsi.jpg
USATSI

MLB rumors: News, updates, trade talk Monday from 2018 Winter Meetings

Executives, agents and even some players descend on the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas for the MLB Winter Meetings, starting Monday.

Roster construction, either through signings and/or trades, is the goal for many teams, and both Bay Area teams figure to be heavily involved. The Giants, with new president of baseball operation Farhan Zaidi, have numerous questions to answer, particularly in the rotation and the outfield. The A's also need rotation depth -- heck, they need a rotation, period -- and finding a second baseman and a catcher would be nice, too.

Keep it here throughout Day 1 of the Winter Meetings for the latest news, rumors and trade talk, as MLB teams reshape their rosters for the 2019 season.

10:46am PT: In the aftermath of the D'backs letting Patrick Corbin leave and trading Paul Goldschmidt, we wrote last Thursday that the A's should inquire about lefty Robbie Ray. But according to USA Today, Arizona is telling teams that the All-Star pitcher is not available.

10:41am PT: The Dodgers have won the NL West the last six seasons and made it to the Fall Classic the last two years. But they have yet to end their World Series drought, so could a big splash put them over the top? According to Jon Morosi, the Dodgers are involved in trade talks with the Indians regarding two-time AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber.

10:13 a.m. PT: The Tigers have a 26-year-old outfielder in Nick Castellanos who hit 49 homers over the last two season, and he's drawing trade interest, according to Jon Morosi. Could the Giants be interested? We're not sure, but it's an interesting name on the market.

9:36 a.m. PT: Manny Machado plans to show off his hustle by going on a Image Rehabilitation Tour Free Agent Tour! Will he stop by San Francisco or Oakland?

9:12 a.m. PT: Billy Hamilton will reportedly get a total of $5 million in base salary and incentives from Kansas City.

8:15 a.m. PT: Will Farhan Zaidi move fan favorite Brandon Belt? According to USA Today, the first baseman is available, and several teams are interested.

7:56 a.m. PT: In previous offseasons, the Giants tried to acquire speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton from the Reds, but the sides never agreed to a deal. This winter, Hamilton was non-tendered by Cincinnati.

Now, it appears Hamilton has found a new home, as he's reportedly close to a deal with the Royals.

7:30 a.m. PT: We're not sure if Bryce Harper will meet with Farhan Zaidi and the Giants contingent in Las Vegas, but the top free agent on the market reportedly is warming up to the idea of playing for the White Sox. But is he really willing to go to a team that lost 100 games in 2018?

6:49 a.m. PT: The Arizona Diamondbacks finished third in the NL West, nine games ahead of the Giants, last season. That likely won't be the case in 2019. Patrick Corbin left in free agency. Paul Goldschmidt has been traded. And now, it appears the team is trying to trade ace Zack Greinke.

But that will be difficult because Greinke has a 15-team no-trade clause, and has put most big market teams on it, according to Jon Heyman.

MLB rumors: Giants 1B Brandon Belt receiving trade interest from teams

beltsadusatsi.jpg
USATSI

MLB rumors: Giants 1B Brandon Belt receiving trade interest from teams

If Farhan Zaidi is going to replenish the Giants' farm system, one of his top assets to trade is first baseman Brandon Belt.

And, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, Belt is garnering interest.

Belt, 30, is under contract through the 2021 season and is owed $51.6 million over the remainder of the deal.

One thing that could prohibit a Belt trade is that he has a partial no-trade clause. Each year, he can block a trade to 10 teams that he specifies.

Belt is coming off another injury-plagued season, and in 112 games, he hit .253/.342/.414 with 18 doubles, 14 home runs and 46 RBI. Belt has never reached 20 home runs or 100 RBI in a season.

If the Giants are able to trade Belt, it would open first base for Buster Posey. The team might want to reduce the wear and tear on Posey by limiting how much he catches.