Brandon Belt

POLL: Giants Memorable Moments -- Belt's 18th inning HR against Nats vs Clark's HR in first career AB

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AP

POLL: Giants Memorable Moments -- Belt's 18th inning HR against Nats vs Clark's HR in first career AB

PROGRAMMING NOTE: NBC Sports Bay Area is looking back at the Giants' 60 Memorable Moments since the franchise moved from New York to San Francisco. Tune into Pregame Live at 10am to see the next two moments you can vote on! Then, after the Giants and Cubs conclude on Saturday, tune into Postgame Live to see which moment will move on to the next round! Make your vote count!

1. Brandon Belt's 18th inning homer against the Nationals in 2014 NLDS (Five-time winner -- Defeated Ed Halicki's no-hitter in 1975)

(From Alex Pavlovic)
By the end of an 18-inning win over the Nationals in Game 2 of the 2014 NLDS, the Giants were drained in every way. It would be understandable if some of them have few solid memories of the six-hour, 23-minute marathon game, but Brandon Belt will never forget the details. His solo shot off Tanner Roark in the top of the 18th was the difference in a 2-1 win. Four years later, the moment is still fresh in his mind, from his preparation for the at-bat to the emphatic bat drop: 

(From Brandon Belt)
"I remember chugging a Red Bull. It was late into the night and that's tough, it's mentally draining and physically draining to be in a game like that, where you're giving everything you've got to win a baseball game. I was drained at that moment to say the least. I remember chugging a Red Bull and going out there and thinking, 'I'm just going to try and get on base and see what happens.' I remember just not trying to do too much and he gave me a pitch that I could handle, that was kind of in my happy zone. It felt like one of the first home runs I ever hit. It's like you're in Little League and you hit a home run and it's like you're in a dream and it's not real life -- it was kind of the same way. 

"We had just played so long and it was such a big moment in the game, and the fact that I was able to come through and help us win with such a big hit, it was surreal to me. I felt like I was floating around the bases. I think (the bat drop) was relief, more than anything. When I do that I don't really know I do it. It was really just relief. The way the game was going, we had to assume it was over after that. The bullpen had done so well and everyone was so tired. It was going to be tough for (the Nationals) to come back after that.

"We were just ready to go home. We had a long flight after that. We just put so much effort into it and all the guys did so great. Pablo came up with a big hit in the ninth inning and Petit throwing (six shutout) innings. For me, that was the pivotal game of that entire playoffs. We were playing the best team in the NL and to be able to come home up 2-0 was huge."

VS.

2. Will Clark's home run off Nolan Ryan in first-career at-bat

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Brandon Belt earns NL Player of the Week honors

Brandon Belt earns NL Player of the Week honors

HOUSTON -- Another homer-filled stretch earned some national recognition for Brandon Belt.

The first baseman was named the National League's Player of the Week after hitting five homers in seven games. Belt had a .444/.500/.1.074 slash line, eight runs and 11 RBI. He led the NL in homers, runs and total bases (29).

Belt also won the award in August of 2013. He's the first Giant to do it since Jeff Samardzija in September of 2017.

Through the season's first two months, Belt has been the best first baseman in the National League. He looks headed for an All-Star appearance, and at the moment is an MVP candidate for a team that's .500 despite a slew of injuries. 

What's gotten into Belt's power surge? Krukow identifies biggest difference

What's gotten into Belt's power surge? Krukow identifies biggest difference

Brandon Belt has never hit more than 18 home runs in a season. But through 44 games this season, he's already gone deep 11 times, putting him on a projected pace to finish with 26 homers, according to Steamer Projections and Dan Szymborski's ZiPS Projections.

Belt has homered in four straight games twice this season. He's homered in five of the last seven games for the Giants.

A career .270 hitter, Belt is hitting .313 through Sunday's game.

So what's gotten into Belt's improved numbers at the plate?

"I think the biggest difference is he's hitting the high fastball, which has always been an enigma when you watch this guy wave through, not even foul back, belt-high fastballs one after another. And now he's smothering them. He's having the year we all thought he could have, and more importantly, he's having the year he always thought he could have. He's matured into a nice mindset when he gets in that box. Very, very confident hitter," Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow said on KNBR 680 on Monday morning.

"I think this is the year he gets a lot of recognition for not only his at-bats, but for his glove. We've always felt he's been a gold glover waiting to happen and I think this is the year he finally gets one," Krukow said.