The Giants made enough of their own mistakes to contribute to a 6-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, but Brandon Belt was more concerned with the brevity of home plate umpire Doug Eddings.
With Brandon Crawford on first base, two outs and a full count against closer Raisel Iglesias, Belt was rung up by Eddings on a full count to end the game.
And the end of the game was precisely what Belt believes Eddings had in mind.
"It's tough, because you hope that an umpire doesn't affect a game like that, but he did," Belt said. "I'm not sure if it was on purpose, either. We've heard that guy insinuate multiple times that he's trying to get through the game fast. Then he makes calls like that, that I can't imagine that he thought was a strike. You've got to wonder."
Asked if Eddings has made those statements as a joke, Belt said, "I don't know, but if you say it enough, you start to believe it. I'm not sure if that's connected, but if you don't want it to be, then don't say it."
Belt, who could face a fine from Major League Baseball, said Eddings has made remarks about speeding up games "multiple times, on multiple days," including Wednesday.
When Belt struck out, the Giants lost an opportunity for Evan Longoria to come to the plate as the trying run.
"I'm not here to talk bad about umpires," Belt said. "I think 99.9 percent of the umpires are great, and I actually enjoy talking to them, but there's just sometimes where you have a feeling that one or two of 'em are trying to get the game over with, whether it's what they say or what they do.
"That just can't happen. You can't have those guys affecting careers and affecting games like that. We had a really good hitter coming up, could have tied the game for us. We never got that chance because he calls a ball that's so far off the plate I don't think I could have touched it if I swung at it."
Belt had already homered in the third inning, his ninth of the season, and later drove a single off the fence in right field.
In the end, the Giants never recovered from a four-run first-inning against left-hander Andrew Suarez, who saw the first four Reds cross the plate. Jose Peraza opened with a single, followed by a ground rule double by Scooter Gennett. Joey Votto singled in Peraza, and Adam Duvall launched a three-run home run to left.
Much of the crowd of 38,862 hadn't settled in to their seats and the Giants trailed, 4-0.
Remarkably, Suarez (1-3) righted himself. He went six innings, giving up just one unearned run.
"I think my adrenaline was pumping too much in the first," Suarez said. "After I gave up those four runs I tried to settle down and go as deep as I can."
Giants manager Bruce Bochy made no mention of balls and strikes, but he had his issues with the umpiring as well, a ground ball by Votto in particular that was fielded by Pablo Sandoval at first base for an apparent out.
Instead, the umpires huddled and said Votto had fouled the ball off. He later walked and scored on a passed ball by Nick Hundley for a 5-3 Reds lead.
"They got together and they didn't overturn it, but that ball didn't hit him," Bochy said. "that's a bad break for Suarez."
Trailing 4-0, the Giants got two runs back in the first inning against starter Matt Harvey on an RBI double by Andrew McCutchen and a sacrifice fly by Sandoval. Duvall, who had already homered, chased Sandoval's drive down in left field to prevent an extra base hit that could have delivered a big inning for the Giants.
The Reds used another defensive gem – this one by second baseman Scooter Gennett – to chase down a would-be bloop double by Hernandez with the bases loaded.
"Had a couple of great chances, but we were just missing the big hit," Bochy said.
Jared Hughes, the Reds' second reliever following Harvey and Wandy Peralta, got the win to improve to 2-2.