It was a bad look at the tail end of a bad performance.
The Giants’ 5-0 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday was a game to forget, but included a play that will likely stick in the memories of San Francisco fans for a while.
In the seventh inning with two outs and two strikes, Brandon Belt squared up to bunt with two runners in scoring position, trying anything to keep the inning going and get the Giants on the scoreboard.
It didn’t work.
The ball almost immediately rolled foul ending the inning, leading to a confused chuckle from dominant Arizona starter Zac Gallen and boos from the Oracle Park crowd.
The bunt attempt looked like a white flag. A player who is supposed to be one of the Giants’ most effective power hitters essentially admitting his only chance to get on base was a high-risk bunt attempt instead of swinging away.
Belt basically admitted as much postgame. The struggling slugger hit into a double-play and struck out in his previous plate appearances vs. Gallen, and isn’t seeing the strike zone well right now.
“From my point of view I’ve been struggling a little bit,” Belt told reporters in the Giants’ clubhouse. “[Gallen] was tough all day, he didn’t have a whole lot of misses hitting that high inside with his fastball. I took the best route that I thought would keep the inning going. Not saying I’m right about that, but that was the decision I made. I felt very comfortable bunting and I wanted to keep that inning going. I just didn’t get it down so unfortunately it didn’t work out.”
Belt says he knew if Gallen went for the high and inside fastball again, he wouldn’t be able to do much with it.
“My view of the strike zone was a little skewed, and I didn’t feel like I had a whole lot of chance right there to do anything if he threw that fastball up again, which I knew he was going to do,” Belt continued. “I thought my best chance to keep that inning going was to try and lay down the bunt. I really trust myself with the bunt. I think I rushed it a little bit that’s why I didn’t get it down.”
Amazingly, Belt wasn’t the only Giant with a failed two-strike bunt on Thursday. Brandon Crawford also wasn’t able to lay his attempt down to open the sixth inning with the Giants in a five-run hole. Manager Gabe Kapler defended both players postgame.
“When two guys are bunting with two strikes it means that they’re trying to scrap and claw and find a way to get on base against a guy that’s really dealing and dominating,” Kapler said. “Those are two veteran players that have been doing this a really long time and are pretty well equipped to decide the best way not to make an out, and that’s what they determined in those spots.
“I trust Brandon completely. Both of them.”