This 21-pitch (Yes, 21!) at-bat deserves its own wing at Cooperstown
Wearing down an opponent's starting pitcher is always sound strategy, but Brandon Belt took that hitting approach to a level never seen before. The San Francisco first baseman batted second in Sunday's game against the Angels and worked a remarkable 21-pitch at-bat against Jaime Barria before lining out. That's right, 21 pitches in one at-bat. I'm getting a dead arm just thinking about it.
Although Barria technically won this battle, Belt forced the rookie making his second start to match his age in pitches. Again, in one at bat. One LONG at-bat that was clocked at 12 minutes and 45 seconds, or approximately the time a great marathoner would take to run three miles.
Watch the entire 21-pitch at-bat here in under a minute. Because we know some of you have to work:
Here's a different visual of this epic encounter that included 16 foul balls:
Here's how it looks when you write a play-by-play:
And ESPN's Darren Rovell found a way to put the record-breaking at-bat into dollars and cents. Obviously.
"I wasn't going to give it up and the pitcher wasn't either," Belt said after. "It made for a good battle. If it helped get me a little bit locked in for later in the game, it was worth it."
Belt homered later in the game, helping the Giants to a 4-2 win. He forced Barria, who finished the first inning with a whopping 49 pitches, to throw eight more pitches to him in the second inning before singling.
Barria was taken out after the second inning and a 77-pitch count. That's six more pitches than he threw in his impressive five-inning MLB debut on April 11.
The previous MLB record for most pitches seen in an at bat was set by Ricky Gutierrez and Bartolo Colon in 1998. Considering Colon is still going strong two decades later, that's a good sign for Barria.