Brandon Belt had a big night Tuesday against the Nationals.
A few more inches, and it could have been a huge night.
Belt finished the night with a three-hit, three-RBI night, providing Madison Bumgarner with enough offense to pitch the Giants to a big win over the Washington Nationals.
But for Belt, it could have been so much more.
In the second inning, after Hunter Pence led off with a single, Belt sent a long drive to left center fielder that appeared to hit about one foot from the top of the wall for an RBI double.
When Bryce Harper’s throw went home, Belt tried to take third, but was easily thrown out by catcher Jesus Flores.
In the sixth, Belt came up with runners on first and second and one out when he sent a high, deep drive to right field that hit just inches from the top of the wall, scoring Pablo Sandoval from second.
But Belt spent to much time admiring his drive and less time running hard. That allowed Jayson Werth to play the ball off the wall and throw Belt out trying to take second base.
“Players have hit a lot of balls over their lives and usually you know which ones are going and which one’s aren’t,” Belt said. “It was one of those things where I decided not to go, and I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. I’m not going to do that again.”
Well, if it makes Brandon feel any better, Giants announcer Dave Flemming thought it was gone, too.
Stil, it was two near home runs. Two outs on the basepaths. But two RBIs.
Belt got another chance in the eighth with runners on first and second and one out. This time, he smacked a single to right, scoring Buster Posey to score just ahead of Werth’s throw from right. That was part of an four-run eighth.
From there, Bumgarner did the rest, finishing the complete game on 108 pitches.
He could have had a shutout.
In the seventh, Werth sent a drive into Triples Alley that Hunter Pence was able to get to, but was unable to catch. It went for a leadoff triple and led to the Nationals’ lone run.
It was the lone bump on the night for Pence, who was 3 for 4 with two runs scored at the plate.
Combined, it was a 6-for-8 night with three RBI and three runs by two players who Belt described as “awkward.”
But they are both two key guys the Giants need to deliver down the stretch.
They give the Giants lineup a dangerous bat up and down the lineup.
For far too long, the Giants lineup got pretty lean in the No. 6-7-8 spots. Now with Pablo Sandoval off the DL, Pence and Belt make up the Nos. 6 and 7 spots. And even Brandon Crawford has been swinging the bat better in the No. 8 spot.
After a very slow start with the Giants, Pence is 5 for 16 (.313) with a home run, four runs, an four RBI in his last four games.
Belt is 17 for 36 (.472) in the month of August, with multi-hit game in five of his past nine games. It’s pushed his season average all the way to .267.
Crawford is riding a seven-game hitting streak in which he’s hit 10 for 23 (.435).