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Brandon Belt rejoices in hitting ‘Splash 69’

Splash6969


SAN FRANCISCO — Brandon Belt didn’t try to hide his feelings. Hours after splashing a David Price curveball into McCovey Cove, he approached reporters in the clubhouse with an arm raised in the air: “Did it!”

There were no secrets about his desire to push the Giants’ “Splash Hit” counter from 68 to 69, and he came through on Wednesday night.

“Oh I definitely wanted to be the one to hit it,” Belt said. “Absolutely, there’s not a person in here who didn’t want to be the one.”

Video courtesy of MLB.com

The homer was only one of two blemishes on Price’s line, the other being Mac Williamson’s first career home run to put the Giants (36-25) ahead for good, 2-1, over the Red Sox (34-25). The fanfare around the 69th splash hit was a product of time.

Before Wednesday, Belt owned the Giants most recent splash hit — 622 days ago. He cranked a middle-in fastball from Andrew Cashner over the arcade and into the water on September 17, 2014. Last season was the first in AT&T Park history that a Giants player didn’t land one in San Francisco Bay.

“We knew it had been awhile,” Belt said. “We were looking to move onto the next number on the list for sure.

“We almost hope it stays there for a little bit too.”


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If the last splash hit drought and the Giants’ current home run rate are any indication, Belt’s wish could hold true. The Giants’ 52 home runs are tied for the fifth fewest in baseball, and the power struggle has been magnified at home. The Giants have hit 18 home runs at AT&T Park this year — the second-worst mark for any team at home — while the Orioles lead baseball with 51 home runs blasted at Camden Yards.

But Belt didn’t appear bothered by the 20-month power outage, and even offered a cynical view on the next ball destined for McCovey Cove.

Video courtesy of MLB.com

“Not that we don’t want to hit out to the water,” he said, “but maybe next time we hit it that hard it’ll just hit the flagpole and drop straight down.”

That essentially what happened to Williamson’s home run, sans-flagpole. With the wind playing tricks on his soaring fly to left field, it dropped in a hurry, just beyond the outstretched glove of Chris Young.

That was the game’s turning point, but there was no question about what the momentous occasion was. It was Splash Hit No. 69, on June 8, 2016 (6/8, for those of you who appreciate shorthand).

“I just keep on thinking,” Belt said, “it’s going to be one of those things that’s going to be up there for three days, and somebody’s going to hit 70.

“Hopefully we can enjoy it for a little bit.”

 

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