Belt leaves game, Giants fade quietly into 2-1 loss

The worst fear of any baseball player became Brandon Belt‘s reality in the Giants‘ 2-1 Friday night to against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Giants first-baseman took a wild curveball to the back of the head, dropping to the ground immediately.

Belt was tended to by the Giants medical staff seconds after the thudding blow and was able to walk off of the field with some assistance after spending several minutes in the fetal position. In a visible daze, Belt was escorted to the Giants Clubhouse where he underwent a full medical evaluation to find out the severity of the injury.

This marks the second time Belt has taking a ball to the head area after being accidentally struck in the face during a 2014 batting practice session. The incident led to a 46 days stint on the disabled list due to a diagnosed concussion.

Belt has been diagnosed with a concussion. This is the fourth of Belt’s seven-year career as mentioned by Giants manager, Bruce Bochy:

“He’s got concussion symptoms and tomorrow we’ll evaluate him. We haven’t done anything yet but he is showing symptoms so that’s where we’re at with him. … He’s been through this before so obviously there’s some concern there.”

Prior to taking the hit Belt had seen some success at the dish throughout the night. In two plate appearances, he went 1-1 and reached on a successful bunt executed down the first base line. He had also hit two homers in three games this month, including one Thursday night matching his career-high (18).

Down 2-1, the Giants clearly felt the impact of losing one of their most experienced veterans. The team recorded a single hit after Belt’s departure and was unable to produce any run support for aceĀ Madison Bumgarner, who gave up only five hits and two runs over 7 strong innings.

The lack of run support is nothing new for Bumgarner, though. So far this season, the former World Series MVP is 1-5 with a 2.94 ERA. In those five losses, the Giants have scored a a minuscule 1.16 runs per game, 2.85 runs less than their season average of 4.01.

Bochy spoke about the team’s lack of offense during Bumgarner’s starts and said he should have more wins up to this point:

“I wish I could think of a reason and try to fix this for him. He’s got one win but you look at his ERA and how he’s thrown the ball. That’s why the wins for a starter — you can throw that number out really. … It’s all about run support and tonight he just couldn’t get it.”

Bumgarner addressed the matter as well after the game:

“I’m not pitching for individual numbers. … I’m going out there trying to give us a chance to win. That’s it. It’s unfortunate that we haven’t gotten a lot of wins when I’ve been out there but that don’t change the fact that me and everybody else is doing everything we can do to do that. It’s a funny game sometimes, baseball is for sure.”

To make matters worse, all of Arizona’s damage was created by one person: known Giants killer Paul Goldschmidt. In the top of the fourth, Goldschmidt sliced a ball down the first base line for an RBI triple that gave the Diamondbacks a 1-0 lead.

Goldschmidt struck again two innings later as he found the barrel of the bat again, this time for an RBI double in the gap of left-center field to regain the lead after San Francisco had tied it in the bottom of the fourth.

The Giants were only able to produce one run, consistent with the norm for Bumgarner’s starts. This singular score in the fourth came via a walked-in-run by Arizona starter Anthony Banda, who walked Brandon Crawford in a bases-loaded situation to bring home Kelby Tomlinson.

After that fourth inning, not a peep was heard from any of San Francisco’s bats as the Giants could musterĀ just one infield single — each of their five hits were of the infield variety — the rest of the game. A 2-1 final score makes it San Francisco’s 69th loss of the season and keeps them on pace to lose over 100 on the year — for the second time in San Francisco franchise history (1985, 100)

But for the Giants as the reality of another may hurt, the loss of Belt hurts much worse. And as the severity of Belt’s injury is still unknown, Bochy and the rest of the San Francisco Giants organization now face some decisions as to who will start at first base for the time being. Said the skipper:

“You watch what we did tonight. (Ryder) Jones has played some first base so that could open things up. I’m gonna get with Bobby Evans here once I’m done. He’s in my office now so we’ll talk about our situation and where we’re at.”