LOS ANGELES — While dealing with multiple concussions, Brandon Belt was often forced to sit peacefully in a dark room to avoid noise and light. This latest DL stint also included some sitting in a room, but this time the focus was on visualization.
Belt said he sat down and repeatedly told himself that he would be fine physically when he returned from an appendectomy. He needed to trust his body and his approach, and in his first at-bat back, he got validation. Belt flied out to the track in the second inning Saturday night. A day later, he cleared the wall, giving Chris Stratton insurance that would hold up in a 4-1 win over the Dodgers.
The homer was Belt’s 12th of the season and 110th in the big leagues. It was his first without an appendix, and it came after no rehab games.
“I knew I felt alright,” he said.”I didn’t need (rehab games). I guess there’s always a concern when you come back and try to be up to speed, but the way I felt in the cage, I figured I would be alright.”
Belt’s blast was the second of just three hits for the Giants, but they didn’t need any more than that. Nick Hundley had a two-run shot himself and Stratton battled without his best stuff, throwing six innings for a staff that needed a boost in the worst way.
For the third time on this trip, the Giants won before taking a flight. This one is a short one and will get them back home, where they are 19-11 this season. The winning clubhouse was full of players and coaches eager to get away from hotels.
“It’s awesome,” Belt said. “We’re through our toughest part of the schedule, I believe.”
The Giants have played 42 games on the road, the most in the majors. They’re just 16-26 away from home, and Bruce Bochy has said repeatedly that the team needs to play better on the road to have a chance at the postseason. But thats a goal the Giants can focus on in a couple of weeks. For now, they’re starting a stretch where they’ll play 20 of 26 at home. Those six road games are nearby — in Phoenix and Denver — and the three “road” games after this 26-game run are in Oakland.
The Giants will spend just six nights away from their home beds from now until July 23. In other words, it’s go time. Despite their issues, they are just 4 1/2 games out in the National League West. This upcoming stretch will determine if they are a real contender, and could determine whether or not the front office is selling at the deadline.
“We have a very, very good home field advantage with our fans and how well we’ve played at AT&T Park,” Hundley said. “If we’re going to win the division, we have to win at home. We know that, and we expect to win at AT&T Park and we’ll carry that confidence over to the next series.”
OAKLAND -- Jonathan Lucroy hit an RBI single off the center-field wall in the 11th inning and the Oakland Athletics capped their comeback Sunday with a 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
The A's rallied for two runs in the ninth to tie it at 5, then took advantage of control problems by a pair of Angels relievers to win.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia brought left fielder Justin Upton in for a five-man infield but it didn't matter. Lucroy hit a deep drive to win it.
Canha hit an early two-run homer, and added a tying single with two outs in the ninth. Marcus Semien homered to begin the Oakland ninth.
It was another blown save for Scioscia's bullpen, the 15th by the Angels this season.
Pujols' drive off Daniel Mengden was his fourth this month and 11th overall this season. It also moved the Angels' 38-year-old slugger within five home runs of tying Ken Griffey Jr. for sixth place all time.
Pujols also had an RBI single in the third.
Trout had homered in four of his previous six games. He had singles in the fifth and ninth, walked twice and was hit by a pitch.
Athletics: 3B Matt Chapman (right thumb contusion) added throwing to his regimen, one day before his scheduled visit with a hand specialist in Los Angeles. Chapman's biggest hurdle remains swinging a bat. . LHP Brett Anderson (strained left shoulder) is headed for Arizona to pitch in extended spring training.
Angels: RHP Jaime Barria (5-2, 2.61 ERA) faces the Arizona Diamondbacks in the opener of a two-game series Monday in Anaheim. Barria's ERA is the lowest among all rookies with at least 40 innings pitched this season.
Athletics: RHP Paul Blackburn (1-1, 11.05 ERA) starts against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday to begin Oakland's 10-game road trip.