Saturday was Larry Walker’s night, but it was a Brandon Belt game.
Walker’s number 33 after Rocky retired, the Giants’ veteran first baseman smashed 846 feet worth of homers at Coors Field to put Colorado 7-2 in first place.
“I feel really good right now,” Belt said. “I feel the best I can, simply because I have taken some time off for this season (due to injury). My feet feel great… I’ve been consistent (with my attitude) from play-by-play to the end. I’m definitely on a hot streak, but for me it’s a little more than that.”
Belt is reducing .314/.413/.686 with 13 homers in his last 30 games. And his two homers propelled the Giants to set the franchise mark for the Dingers at 236 in a season.
After Walker’s pregame ceremony, which delayed the first pitch by 25 minutes, Belt drove John Gray’s ninth pitch into the right field seats 425 feet to set the tone for San Francisco.
Gray, who is a free agent after the season, said he thought of the possibility that Saturday could be his final home start with Colorado. Gray has said he wants to re-sign with the Rockies, and the club had preliminary talks with his agent about a deal. But nothing is guaranteed for 2022.
“It’s been a tough road for me (with the Rockies), and I haven’t taken it easy for myself,” Gray reflected. “But then it’s something I wouldn’t trade for the world… I thought about (likely to leave) tonight, and I wanted to take it out but also appreciate it in my mind. I really I was trying to pick it up because (this night) is something I’ll always remember.
After a single shot off the belt, the Rockies responded in the bottom half of the first against Giants right-hander Anthony Descalfani. Brendan Rodgers and Charlie Blackmon made things happen with singles, then CJ Cron’s RBI groundout and Ryan McMahon’s two-out RBI double gave Colorado a 2-1 lead.
Although the belt was not done. Which should come as no surprise to the Rockies killer, who had 21 career homers in 75 games he entered Saturday against Colorado, in addition to .967 ops at Coors Field, the most of the lefty slugger in his 11-year career. More than any other team they faced.
He got off the field on a slider in the third inning, but did not miss when he got the pitch again from Gray in the fifth inning. Belt broke the 2-1 slider into the right field seats of 421 feet, where his first homer had landed. Only this time the damage was much greater, as a three-run bomb made it 4-2.
Belt said, “(Grey) was going up in the zone on me, but I stood up for him when he didn’t come in his place.”
Grey, who has now gone eight straight outs without a good start, was not out of that innings. Belt’s homer was set up by a leadoff single by Steven Duggar, then a hit off the pitch on Donovan Solano where Gray lost control of a slider.
“(short outings) have definitely been an issue,” manager Bud Black said. He said, “As far as crossing sixth is concerned, there are some mistakes which he had to pay (in that recent era)… guys constantly away. And it also matters where he lags. Yes, they are getting hit.”
It marked Belt’s eighth multiple-homer game of his career, and he added another single in the seventh off right-hander Daniel Byrd.
The Rockies threatened with multiple baserunners in seventh against right-handed submariner Tyler Rogers, a Chatfield High School alum. But Rogers got to get out of Krone — who else? – Belt to end the innings.
San Francisco suffered three more insurance runs in the eighth, as four singles and a run from a combination of Jordan Sheffield and Tyler Kinley made the score 7–2.
The Rockies loaded the bases without an out against right-hander Dominic Lyon in the ninth, but failed to score. Colorado finished 2-for-10 with the runners in the scoring position and trapped in 11.
The series finale at 1:10 p.m. on Sunday against San Francisco, which ends with seven to play two games over the Dodgers in the National League West, is the last meaningful game the Rockies will play this season. After trying once more to cut down on Giants’ division title hopes, the Rockies finished 2021 with a three-game series against the Nationals (finished and tied for last in the NL East) and then three at the Diamondbacks. -Game series (ended, worst record in the NL).