Brandon Belt

Giants back in first, Brandon Belt keeps getting hit by baseballs

The recipe for success rarely calls for a trip to Miami, but the Giants suddenly look like a competent team. And with a 5-3 win over the Marlins, they’re in sole possession of first place once again. Unfortunately, Brandon Belt got hit again. In the face.

Brandon Belt’s tough luck season continued Saturday night, when he was struck in the face by a thrown ball during batting practice.

Belt started in the Giants’ 5-3 victory at Marlins Park but was removed in the bottom of the third inning because of dizziness and the club sent him for concussion tests following the game.

The way club officials were talking late Saturday night, there’s a strong chance that Belt could be headed to the 7-day disabled list for players with concussion symptoms.

Belt has been such a magnet over the last two-plus months, he and Hector Sanchez might as well wear matching t-shirts.

1. May 9: Belt took a Paul Maholm sinker off his thumb, causing an injury that required surgery and forced Belt to miss 50 games.

2. May 16: Michael Morse, playing first base in place of Belt, threw a ball into the dugout before an inning got started. Morse’s throw hit Belt in his surgically repaired thumb.

3. June 26: Belt was hit by a pitch in his second at-bat of his first minor league rehab game.

4. June 27: Belt was hit by a pitch in his second at-bat of his second minor league rehab game.

5. July 19: “There was a little miscommunication and two throws were coming at once,” Bochy said. “He didn’t see one of them and got hit square in the face. Once the game started, he got a little nauseous.”

Despite taking a ball off his face before the game, Belt smashed a double down the right field line to give the Giants a 1-0 lead, then manufactured a run with some opportunistic base running. Belt took off for third when a wild pitch got past Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The Marlins catcher had enough time to make the play at close, or perhaps even throw Belt out, but instead his throw was so bad that Belt almost took two baseballs to the face in the same evening.

jarrod saltalamacchia brandon belt

Brandon Belt Jarrod Saltalamacchia

It could’ve been worse. Tim Hudson pitched a fantastic game, and the Giants won despite a failed Sergio Romo confidence reconnaissance mission in the ninth. Belt wasn’t hit in the face badly enough to miss the first part of the game, although anyone who watched the World Cup knows teams and athletes are a little too willing to shrug off concussion symptoms as long as the person who took a shot to the head has a chance at remaining productive and isn’t vomiting everywhere.

“We’re just hoping he passes these tests,” Bochy said. “He doesn’t need to miss more time than he already has.”

(Now that’s a quote that’ll make you wipe your brow and attempt to loosen your collar, which suddenly seems a little too tight.)

When good hitters go a while without doing what they’re known for, announcers and fans commonly say they’re “due.” With baseballs drilling Belt once every two weeks since May 9, perhaps the near miss on the basebaths on Saturday is a sign that he’s “due” to avoid getting pegged for a little while.

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