It was how that 6-3 defeat ended that rubbed the left fielder the wrong way.
Belt stepped to the plate with a runner on second base and two outs in the top of the ninth inning at Great American Ball Park. Facing closer Raisel Iglesias, Belt worked the count full before home plate umpire Doug Eddings called a third strike on a fastball just off the plate to end the game.
Afterward, Belt said there was no question he got cheated on the call and insinuated that Eddings made it to get a matinee that lasted 2 hours, 41 minutes over with.
“I think 99.9 percent of the umpires are great, and I actually enjoy talking to ’em,” Belt said. “But there’s just some times when you have a feeling that one or two of ’em are trying to get the game over with, whether it’s through what they say or what they do. And that just can’t happen; you can’t have those guys affecting careers and affecting games like that.”
A walk would have brought Evan Longoria to the plate as the tying run; the third baseman already had three hits on the day.
“We had a really good hitter coming up after that, who could’ve tied the game for us,” Belt said. “And we never got that chance, because he calls a ball that’s so far off the plate, I don’t even think I could’ve touched it if I swung it.”
Belt said multiple times Eddings has said he was trying to get through a game quickly. Asked whether he believes the longtime umpire was joking, Belt added: “I dunno; but if you say it enough, you start to believe it.”
Earlier Wednesday, Belt homered in a fifth straight game against the Reds, a streak dating to May 13 last year.