MIAMI -- A concussion sent Brandon Belt back to the disabled list Sunday, and a 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins showed just how much the Giants will miss one of their biggest bats.

The shortened lineup struggled, again exposing a gaping hole in the roster. The first five hitters in the lineup went 6 for 19; the last four were 0 for 13. That has been a trend in losses, but manager Bruce Bochy, while acknowledging that "the back end of the order had a tough day," said he won't stray from his plan to rest his regulars more in the second half. He doesn't want to ride his starters into the dirt.

"That's what we did there in the first half, and it might have caught up with a couple of guys," he said. "It takes 25 men. We're going to get in hot weather here and the dog days, and you want these guys fresh. These guys off the bench are going to get starts. I've got to do what I think is right and keep these (starters) fresh."

That means more time for Joaquin Arias, who is hitting .182 after a 0-for-3 day. It means Hector Sanchez -- hitting .194 after going 0 for 4 -- will continue to catch in Tim Lincecum's starts, saving Buster Posey. Gregor Blanco (0 for 3, hitting .227) will start just about every day because the Giants don't have another option with Angel Pagan sidelined by a bad back.


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Unless they can upgrade before the trade deadline, the Giants will send out the struggling hitters now and again, and on Sunday that left Lincecum with little margin for error.

He entered with a 5.82 road ERA but pitched well, giving up three runs in seven innings and striking out seven. His biggest mistake was a hanging 0-2 splitter to Casey McGehee that was rocketed into the seats in left. The homer gave the Marlins a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

"It was a split-ball ... the split didn't split," Lincecum said. "It just kind of hung. It sucks, because it was an 0-2 pitch."

Lincecum felt good about his overall performance, one of his best on the road this season, but the split that didn't split stuck with him.

"It would have been better if I didn't get off on that bad foot and put the team in a position to kind of (have) to fight back," he said. "That's the hardest part about today, knowing that I should have been in the driver's seat on that pitch and I gave him a cookie."

The lineup -- the top of it, at least -- did fight back. Hunter Pence hit a leadoff single in the third and Marco Scutaro followed with a soft liner to left, his first hit of the year. Both scored on Posey's double into the left-field corner, with Scutaro emphatically pumping his arms as he crossed the plate and then sprinting all the way to the dugout.

"I've got to look good after I score," he explained, smiling.

The best sign for Scutaro wasn't the hit, or his first run of 2014. It was how he felt after his second start of the season.

"I'm not concerned too much about production right now," he said. "I want to win and everything, but the main thing is starting to feel good and being able to compete. Today was a good day. I felt better than after the last game."

Scutaro's run brought a row of smiles to a dugout that adores the veteran. It was the last time a Giant crossed the plate. The Marlins scored on a double, a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch in the seventh, and their bullpen stymied the Giants from there.

The Giants lost a modest three-game winning streak, and Lincecum fell short in his bid to win five straight starts for the first time in his career.

"That's a very tough way to lose the ballgame, because Timmy threw great," Bochy said. "He threw the way he's been throwing the last few starts. That's a tough loss."

  • Belt was put on the disabled list just 16 days after coming off it. The Giants were still trying to determine if Belt would go on the traditional 15-day list or the relatively new seven-day concussion D.L. Infielder Adam Duvall probably will join the Giants in Philadelphia.

    Belt was hit by a wayward throw during batting practice Saturday. He was taking throws at first base and was looking at his shortstop when a throw came from the second-base side and hit him squarely in the face. Belt wasn't sure who made the throw. He had an RBI double in his first at-bat Saturday but was removed before the bottom of the third.

    "I felt fine until I came in after the (top of the) third inning," he said. "Once I came in, I knew something wasn't right."

    Belt was still feeling shaky Sunday morning and underwent a concussion test. The injury is a tough one for Belt, who missed 50 games this season with a broken left thumb.

    "You have no choice in a concussion situation," Bochy said. "It's a bad break for Brandon."

    Belt will have to pass concussion protocols before being cleared to return.

    For more on the Giants, see Alex Pavlovic's Giants Extra blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/Giants. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/AlexPavlovic.

    Monday's game
    Giants (Ryan Vogelsong 5-7) at Philadelphia (Cliff Lee 4-4), 4:05 p.m. CSNBA