SAN FRANCISCO — Brandon Belt has made a lot of claims over the years that might not hold up under cross examination.
He says he’s the best swimmer from his county in Texas, though the only proof of this is that he once allegedly went swimming in a minor league dugout during a rain delay. His vertical apparently is NBA-worthy. He once said he was the best soccer player from his hometown, although it should be noted here that Clint Dempsey is also from Nacogdoches.
There is no denying, though, that Belt is likely correct with the claim he made at 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning.
"I'm the best 18th inning player ever," he said, laughing as he headed for a long overdue shower.
Sounds about right.
Belt mercifully got everyone heading towards the exits when he led off the bottom of the 18th inning with a double that went about 420 feet and missed being a walk-off by inches. He scored on Erik Kratz's grounder to second, sliding safely into home as the Giants beat the Rockies 3-2 in a marathon that lasted five hours and 35 minutes.
This matched the longest game in Oracle Park history, and none of the current Giants were around when they tangled with the Diamondbacks for 18 innings in 2001. But many on the roster played in Game 2 of the 2014 NLDS, a legendary postseason game that was decided when Belt took Tanner Roark deep in the 18th inning.
"I'm 2 for 2 in the 18th, peeps," Belt said.
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Who else can say that? Thus, this claim is one that Belt can hold for the rest of his career. It sounds like he will.
"I'm Mr. 18th inning," he said. "Right next to Reggie Jackson and Derek Jeter."
Erik Kratz is no longer in the Giants organization.
Three days after San Francisco designated the veteran catcher for assignment, the Giants traded the 38-year-old to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin first reported the news Thursday, and the Giants announced the news shortly thereafter.
On Monday morning, the player to be named was announced as minor league pitcher Matt Seelinger. He'll report to Class A Augusta.
The Giants traded for Kratz in late March, wanting a veteran backup for Buster Posey while Stephen Vogt recovered from shoulder surgery. 26-year-old catcher Aramis Garcia still had minor-league options, so the front office looked for a more-polished stopgap.
But Kratz struggled in his short time wearing orange and black, slashing .125/.222/.281 in 36 plate appearances. He also made more errors (four) in 11 games behind the dish than he did in 61 with the Brewers (three) in 2018, and caught two out of nine runners stealing.
[RELATED: Where Giants stand on competing, rebuilding after quarter of 2019 season]
The Kratz trade was not the only move the Giants made at the position Thursday. They also optioned Garcia to Triple-A Sacramento in anticipation that Posey will return to the lineup Friday after a stint on the seven-day concussion list.
As the MLB season approaches the 50-game mark, it looks like we could be headed for a repeat of the 2017 World Series.
The Astros and Dodgers seem head and shoulders above the pack, but there’s plenty of intrigue right behind them. The Twins are done rebuilding and ready to compete, and they were the third team to 30 wins. The Yankees weathered their injuries and could be frightening over the summer.
In the NL, the Cubs are inching towards the top. Ditto with the Red Sox in the AL. As division races really start to heat up, it’s time for our bi-weekly look around the Majors. As always, there’s an emphasis on former Giants.
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