AT&T PARK — Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Anthony Banda recoiled immediately after hitting San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt in the head with a sixth-inning curveball.
For a few moments, Banda looked away as Belt remained motionless on the ground in the batter’s box. Banda then crouched, biting his glove, as Belt finally rose to exit the game to relieved applause from the home crowd.
The incident came amid a 2-1 defeat that moved San Francisco to 27 games under .500. More worrisome than the loss was the health of Belt, who has already suffered three concussions in his career.“He’s been through this before, so it’s obvious there are concerns there,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He has concussion symptoms, so he’ll come in tomorrow and we’ll evaluate him.”
Belt last suffered a concussion in 2015. He’s hitting .242 with a team-high 18 home runs this season.
On the mound, Madison Bumgarner, still working his way back from a shoulder injury suffered during a dirt bike accident, could not stifle first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.
Bumgarner entered the contest with 49 career showdowns with Goldschmidt. But the experience didn’t help, as Goldschmidt went 3-for-3 with an RBI against the left-hander.
Goldschmidt led off the second inning with an infield single. He lined an RBI triple into the right-center field gap in the fourth. And in the sixth, he blasted a go-ahead RBI single over left fielder Gorkys Hernandez’s head.
The effort came a day after Goldschmidt clubbed three home runs against the Chicago Cubs.
“Sometimes when a guy is hot there’s not much you can do,” Bumgarner said.
Bumgarner lasted seven innings. He gave up two runs on five hits and struck out seven, and Bochy lauded his performance after the game. But as has so often happened during his starts this season, the Giants offense failed to produce. It was the seventh time this year he’s left the game with three runs or less of support.
Against Banda, who entered with one career start, San Francisco mustered one legitimate threat. In the fourth, the Giants loaded the bases with two singles and a walk. But after shortstop Brandon Crawford brought in a run with an RBI walk, Hernandez struck out and third baseman Ryder Jones grounded out.
“That was the turning point,” Bochy said. “It was unraveling and we couldn’t take advantage of it.”
Aside from Belt’s hit-by-pitch and Hunter Pence’s infield single in the sixth, the Giants failed to put any more runners on base. San Francisco finished with just three hits.
Diamondbacks closer Fernando Rodney, who has a 4.66 ERA this season, closed out the game with a flawless ninth inning. But at the back of San Francisco players’ minds when Rodney performed his mimed arrow shooting celebration upon earning the save was the status of Belt.
“It didn’t look good,” Bumgarner said. “I know it was a curveball, but it was really loud.”
PENCE PUNISHES THE DIAMONDBACKS
Despite the subdued offensive showing, Pence continued his torrid stretch against Arizona. With his 2-for-3 showing, he’s now reached base 37 times in his past 13 games against the Diamondbacks.MLB