Brandon Belt started Wednesday on one coast and ended it on the other, but he made his Triple-A debut debut a memorable one.
Belt went deep in his second at-bat with Fresno, becoming the second Minor Leaguer this season to collect 20 homers, 20 doubles and 20 stolen bases. The leadoff blast could not push the Grizzlies past the Sacramento River Cats, who prevailed, 6-5, at Chukchansi Park.
"Actually, I started early this morning around eight," said Belt, who was promoted from Double-A Richmond early Wednesday. "It took me a few hours to get here, but as I got here the team arrived at Sacramento, so I got on the bus and went with them to the hotel. I'm definitely a little tired, but it wasn't an excuse today. I had to go out and perform."
Belt struck out on a full count in his first at-bat against River Cats starter Travis Banwart. But he got even in the fourth inning when he sent a 1-0 offering over the center-field fence.
The 22-year-old joined former first-round pick Nick Franklin of the Clinton LumberKings in the 20-20-20 club. Franklin became the charter member on Saturday when he homered in an 11-10 loss to Peoria.
"I did not know that. That's pretty cool," Belt said. "I'd never thought that I'd have 20 steals in a season in my life. I think I knew I felt confident that I could square the ball up enough times to put the ball in the stands, but I was definitely surprised about the number of steals I had this season."
Belt also walked and scored three times and is hitting .363 in 123 games in his first professional season. Selected by the Giants in the fifth round of the 2009 Draft, he began the year with Class A Advanced San Jose. Described by Giants manager Brian Harper as a "good-looking young ballplayer," Belt batted .385 with 10 homers and 18 stolen bases in 77 games and was named a California League All-Star. Promoted to the Eastern League, he hit .331 with nine homers and 40 RBIs in 45 games with Richmond.
Overall, the Texas native has 38 doubles, 20 homers, 103 RBIs and 21 steals in 123 games.
"My goal this season was to stay at the level I was at and not move back down," Belt said. "Like I told most people, my goal was to stay consistent, and fortunately it's gotten me here right now."
Jesus Guzman added his 17th homer, a two-run shot, and Eugenio Velez hit a solo shot for the Grizzlies (72-60), who had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Eric Hacker (16-6) had a personal eight-game winning streak stopped, losing for the first time since June 28. He allowed five runs on seven hits and struck out two over five innings.
Sacramento's Chris Carter hit his 31st homer, tying him with Las Vegas' J.P. Arencibia for the Pacific Coast League lead. Anthony Recker also went yard and drove in two runs for the River Cats (71-61), who climbed within a game of first-place Fresno in the Pacific South Division.