Brandon Belt turned 33 on Wednesday, and like the rest of the longtime Giants, he probably groans a bit when told that some players who grew up watching him are now facing him in MLB games. But all of those years in the big leagues might have paid off in Tuesday's comeback win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Phillies reliever Connor Brogdon had not allowed a run in six appearances before the eighth inning Tuesday, but he gave up two three-run homers, allowing the Giants to storm back from a late deficit to win 10-7. Brogdon was shaky on the mound and the TV cameras caught him with a shell-shocked look on his face in the dugout after all the damage was done. He said afterward that there was a reason for that.
Brogdon grew up in Madera, a few minutes up the highway from Fresno, and said he watched a lot of Giants games as a kid. The adrenaline was pumping when he faced them for the first time, and perhaps that cost him his best pitch.
"I actually had a great feel for the changeup in the bullpen and for whatever reason, it didn't carry over to the mound," he told Phillies reporters. "I'm not making any excuses, but growing up in Fresno and watching the Giants, I think there was a lot of adrenaline pumping, seeing some of the guys that I kind of watched growing up on TV and stuff. I found myself getting rushed and I think that's why the changeup was floating up and away to a lot of left-handed hitters there. I have to find a better way to calm myself down and execute."
Without his usual changeup command, Brogdon fell behind hitters and had to rely more on his fastball. Alex Dickerson crushed a 1-0 fastball to give the Giants the lead and Wilmer Flores went deep on a 1-1 fastball to put the game out of reach.
Dickerson and Flores weren't Giants when Brogdon was in high school, but the 26-year-old did face three who were, and he didn't fare well. Belt drew a walk and Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford singled off Brogdon to set up Flores' homer.