SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Belt has avoided the pitfall of allowing an offensive lapse to hamper his defense.
Belt has endured a 2-for-20 skid in his last five games, including an 0-for-4, four-strikeout performance Sunday in the Giants' 4-1 Interleague victory over Cleveland. The San Francisco first baseman has struck out in 11 of his last 15 at-bats.
"His bat looks like it's made by chasm," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, referring to Belt's late swings.
However, Belt recorded a couple of deft assists with feeds to pitchers covering first base Sunday. One day earlier, he made several short-hop pickups of infielders' throws, besides alertly starting a 3-5-4 double play after pouncing on Zach McAllister's fourth-inning bunt.
According to fangraphs.com, Belt entered Sunday ranked 10th among Major League first basemen in revised zone rating (which measures the proportion of balls hit into a fielder's zone that were successfully converted into an out) and third in out-of-zone plays made.
Bochy acknowledged Belt's defense by leaving him in the lineup Sunday, due to Cleveland's preponderance of left-handed batters and switch-hitters who would swing left-handed against starter Ryan Vogelsong. Yan Gomes was the only right-handed batter in Cleveland's order.
"We need [Belt's] defense out there," Bochy said. "He has done a really good job with the glove."
Pain-free Affeldt providing solid relief for Giants
SAN FRANCISCO -- It's safe to say that Jeremy Affeldt has made an accelerated comeback from the disabled list.
Entering Sunday's Interleague series finale against the Cleveland Indians, Affeldt was unscored upon in five outings, having allowed just two hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Manager Bruce Bochy's use of Affeldt against right-handed batters reflects the hurler's effectiveness. Defying the percentages, Affeldt has limited righties to a .077 batting average (1-for-13).
"That's why we re-signed him," Bochy said of Affeldt, who received a three-year, $18 million contract extension before the 2013 season.
"He's throwing all his pitches for strikes," catcher Buster Posey said. "When he's on, he has swing-and-miss stuff. And he can get some quick outs."
Affeldt's success can largely be attributed to his improved health. He has weathered the lingering effects of the groin injury that limited him to 39 appearances last year, as well as recovering from the sprained right knee that sidelined him at the start of this season.
"I don't really get complacent, but right now I'm not pitching with pain," said Affeldt, who still wears his knee brace as a precautionary measure. "I don't have that leg injury, so I can kind of relax and not be too tight before I make a pitch. Last year I was so tight before every pitch, because I knew at some point in time it was going to hurt."
Giants set National League sellout record
SAN FRANCISCO -- Fans who remember watching the Giants play before sparse crowds at Candlestick Park have had their wildest dreams met, if not exceeded.
With their 258th consecutive sellout at AT&T Park on Sunday, the Giants established a record for the longest such streak in National League history. The Giants broke a tie with the Philadelphia Phillies, who maintained their streak from July 7, 2009-Aug. 5, 2012.
The Giants began their stretch of sellouts, which is the longest active streak in the Majors, with an Oct. 1, 2010, game against San Diego as they were approaching the NL West title. The club's last non-sellout at home occurred Sept. 30 of that year, when the announced paid attendance was 37,261 for a Thursday afternoon game against Arizona.
"Incredible," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It really is. That was quite a run that Philly had. To pass that is impressive. We're really grateful and thankful for the support we get."
The Boston Red Sox own the all-time record of 794 home sellouts in a row from May 15, 2003, to April 8, 2013, at Fenway Park. The second-highest streak belongs to the Cleveland Indians, who played to 455 consecutive sellouts at Progressive Field (formerly Jacobs Field) from June 12, 1995, to April 2, 2001.