Williamson, Belt long balls lift Giants over Red Sox

Brandon Belt walked out to his locker Wednesday night with his fist held high — Breakfast Club style.

He’d finally broken a season-long Splash Hit dry spell, hitting No. 69, and pushing the Giants one run closer to their eventual 2-1 win over the Boston Red Sox:

“We were looking to move on to the next number that’s for sure…. I’m almost hoping it stays there.”

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Giants clubhouse at AT&T Park.

It took two historic home runs to edge out one major win.

Mac Williamson launched the game-winner in the eighth; he leapt on David Price‘s first-pitch and sent his first big league home run inches above the orange cartoon Chevron car in left field:

“To be able to help the team, not just get my home run, and have it be a meaningful home run and help the team win, especially at this point in the season, it’s really special.”

Williamson has been waiting for this moment, and not patiently. In 18 previous at-bats with San Francisco this season he tallied three hits, an RBI and six strikeouts.

The rookie knows he’s been pushing it and hasn’t it easy. He thinks about his strikeout that ended a crucial scoring threat in this year’s Mother’s Day loss to Colorado and can recount, pitch-for-pitch, the strikeouts he endured last season against Clayton Kershaw:

“There were some times, the first couple times I was trying to do a lot because I knew at bats were going to be limited and I was trying to prove that I belonged. Sometimes that can be counter productive, so this time I was just trying to let the game come to me.”

Williamson said he’s been talking to Bruce Bochy and Buster Posey about his approach. Price (L, 7-3, 4.63 ERA) had struck him out twice already Wednesday night, but Williamson knew he was looking for that cutter in.

“Was looking for that pitch just because he’d struck me out on it twice … I was just hoping he’d leave it over the plate at some point … I was trying to remain confident in approach, but I just wanted to get a good swing and not do too much.”

He though he got under it, but the ball had just enough oomph to seal the win. Belt said he and his teammates weren’t surprised:

“I don’t know if it will set in with him quite yet but looking from the outside, it’s pretty cool. That’s a big moment to have your first home run as a game winning home run in the late innings of a ball game. We kind of knew it was a matter of time, this guy has big time power.”

Madison Bumgarner agreed:

“He’s been putting a lot of pressure on himself trying to do good. He’s got some of the best tools in the game. If he puts it together he’s gonna be a really good player.”

The homer pushed Price to the short end of a majestic complete game, his first of the season. The expensive lefty was cruising, dealing near the minimum through the sixth until the Giants lineup woke up. Brandon Crawford worked a walk and Trevor Brown followed with a 10-pitch at bat that ultimately resulted in a loud fly out. Said Williamson:

“After losing three we really needed to win today and David went out there and was throwing really well tonight, kept us off balance all night.”

Bumgarner, on the other hand, landed on the fortunate side of what he called a rough outing:

“It’s just one of those days where you wake up and you know it’s gonna be a rough one. Just the way your body feels. Not pain or anything like that, but just dragging for whatever reason which translates into your delivery.”

Bumgarner wasn’t particularly efficient, dealing 101 pitches through six innings of work.

He departed with the game knotted at 1-1, denying him a record-matching seventh-straight win (Barry Zito still holds the record from a 2012 run). But Chris Young‘s solo shot in the third off him would be the only mark this potent offense could scratch:

“To get out of there with the line I had and keep us in the game like that, you have to feel good about that.”

Wednesday, the bullpen kept Boston hanging. Derek Law and Cory Gearrin pitched two innings of shutout ball, but drama was brewing for the ninth.

Hanley Ramirez, facing Santiago Casilla, led off the inning with a high fly ball that Williamson couldn’t quite track — it bounced off his glove and allowed Ramirez to glide into second.

Casilla struck out Jackie Bradley Jr. and surrendered the mound to Javier Lopez with, who else, David Ortiz up to pinch hit.

Lopez didn’t give him much, and walked him on a 3-2 pitch that could have gone either way. Lopez calmed things back down by striking out Travis Shaw.

Hunter Strickland closed it out for his first save of the season, forcing Marco Hernandez into a first-pitch ground out.


Shayna Rubin is SFBay’s San Francisco Giants beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @ShaynaRubin on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Giants baseball.