MIAMI GARDENS, FL - AUGUST 14: Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants hits a home run against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium on August 14, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.The Giants defeated the Marlins 5-2. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Sunday afternoon, Brandon Belt started at first for the Giants and blasted a pair of home runs. It's almost like he's a talented hitter.
Lately, the Giants have been slumping, and they came into action on Sunday winners of just four of their past 15 games. Over that span, the lineup had produced a total of 34 runs, with a .631 OPS. The Giants had fallen into second place behind the Diamondbacks, and they've been in need of a boost.
Not well, at first. He struck out in the top of the second. He grounded out in the top of the fourth. But then he got going. Facing Chris Volstad in the top of the sixth, Belt launched a first-pitch fastball out to straightaway center field. Then in the eighth, against lefty Mike Dunn, Belt worked a full count before pulling a dinger out to right. The home runs were Belt's third and fourth of the season, and they provided critical insurance runs in what ended up a 5-2 Giants victory.
Belt's performance on Sunday is just the latest evidence that he's a very capable major league hitter in an organization with a struggling major league offense. The Giants have a very complicated roster picture, especially now that Huff is hitting a little better. But it stands to reason that a team that has so much trouble scoring runs could find a way to use Belt more often than it has, and how Belt is handled just might make the difference down the stretch. It also might not, but Belt is talented, and a team like the Giants should want to maximize its usage of talent.