Marte finishes second to Belt in Final Vote

Marte finishes second to Belt in Final Vote

PITTSBURGH -- It was a close battle, but outfielder Starling Marte finished second to Giants first baseman Brandon Belt in the National League Final Vote on Friday. Belt finished with 10.4 million votes in one of the closest races since the Final Vote began in 2002.

Leading the vote on Thursday, Marte was unable to maintain his advantage in the race for the final spot on the NL All-Star team. He finished ahead of Trevor Story, Jake Lamb and Ryan Braun.

Although Marte won't be headed to San Diego for the All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, he expressed his gratitude to Pirates fans who have supported and voted for him.

"It was awesome seeing the fans and all the support they gave us," Marte said through translator Mike Gonzalez. "They did their best to try and get me up there. However, Belt won, and I just wish him the best of luck."

Marte provided some consistency on offense during the Bucs' June struggles, hitting .345 with a .548 slugging percentage, two home runs and 11 RBIs. After a solid first half and the Pirates' turnaround -- they went 10-3 in their last 13 games entering Friday -- he's ready to see what the second half of the season brings.

"I'm feeling great with much momentum knowing that, hey, things went really well the first half and I'm excited," Marte said. "There's a lot more ballgames ahead of us and I'm excited to be able to continue healthy. I'm feeling very healthy and just hopefully I'll remain healthy."

Sarah K. Spencer is a reporter for based in Pittsburgh. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.