On an evening that should have been a joyous occasion for the Giants, there was a solemn tone to it as one member of the franchise grieved.
Brandon Belt, who hit two of San Francisco's four home runs, revealed on Giants Postgame Live during an on-field interview that his grandmother, Margaret Peterson, had passed away just hours earlier on Tuesday morning. And, he decided to honor her by dedicating the game and the rest of the season to her.
"I'm a pretty private person, but I just want to dedicate this game to my grandmother, who passed away this morning," Belt said. "I'm not looking for anybody to feel sorry for me. I just wanted to dedicate this game and the rest of this season to her and let everybody know that I love her so very much."
The first baseman ended a 2-for-30 skid with a homer that landed on top of Citi Field's center-field apple in the first inning and hit his second homer—a career-best 19th of the season—in the fourth.
Belt shared with reporters after the game that his grandparents helped pay for a lot of his trips to showcase events in high school, which would eventually help him land a spot on the University of Texas squad.
Peterson died after contracting COVID-19, he said, per ESPN. Belt texted his parents and wife that he was struggling with the news, unsure of whether he could play on Tuesday night. His father told him that his grandmother would want him to "go out there and do the best" he could.
"I think that really kind of locked me in as much as it could," he said.
Only a small group of people knew about Belt's loss, manager Gabe Kapler said. He added that he expected Belt would leave for funeral services in the coming days and would have the team's full support. The two talked before the game, and Kapler knew Belt wanted to stay in the lineup.
However, there was more to their conversation than just Tuesday night's matchup.
"But it was more what he needed. Whatever he needed, we would've done," Kapler said. "If he needed the day off, we would've put somebody in there to replace him. When you have a death in the family, you prioritize the emotional health and wellbeing of our players over that night's game."
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