Brandon Crawford

Vintage Crawford turns on jets to spark another Giants comeback

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SAN FRANCISCO — On Tuesday, a few hours before Brandon Crawford’s homer helped the Giants secure a comeback win, Brandon Belt hit a solo shot against the Baltimore Orioles. That led to a brief text exchange between the longtime teammates.

“Now we just need the Brandon cycle,” Belt wrote.

“Who’s getting the triple?” Crawford joked.

It ended up being the Brandon who still plays in front of Triples Alley. Crawford crushed a ball into the gap in the fifth that would have been a home run in 22 ballparks. He raced 270 feet and slid in safely with a swim move, and then tied the game a few seconds later on a single by Isan Díaz. 

The sequence sparked a 4-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Giants' 60th of the year. It also was moderately meaningful in Crawford's 13-year career. The triple was his 28th, breaking a tie with Belt for the most in Oracle Park's history.

Belt is the player most associated with hitting balls deep into the night and watching them die in right-center, but Crawford has lost plenty of homers to this ballpark, too. Given the stage of his career and the knee issue that very recently put him on the IL, the night would have been a lot easier had the ball cleared the wall 415 feet away, but Crawford looked like his old self while running the bases. 

"That's an old guy doing some young guy things, right?" starter Logan Webb said, smiling. 

Crawford's 13th season in orange and black has been disappointing at the plate, in part because a calf strain halted his progress right as he was finding his swing early in the year. The Giants have tried two of their top prospects at short in recent months, but their best bet for the rest of this season is still to have a healthy Crawford out there as often as possible, something the last two nights have validated. 

"We've seen when Brandon is at his healthiest and his freshest, he's a really good shortstop and comes up with big, clutch hits for us," manager Gabe Kapler said. "We've seen that pretty consistently over the last several years. The trick is obviously keeping that and trying to not overdo it, and at times we're going to need to ride Brandon and really lean on him, but when we can we need to also get him a break and give some other guys a chance to play, as well."

An inning after Crawford's triple, J.D. Davis gave the Giants the lead with a two-run double. They also got three hits from a red-hot Wilmer Flores, and Webb was dominant after a rocky start. 

He got 12 ground-ball outs, with the Diamondbacks repeatedly watching as Crawford, Díaz, J.D. Davis and LaMonte Wade Jr. snagged balls that they thought might find the outfield grass. The Giants have been much-improved defensively all year, but they've been especially clean the past two nights, and Webb noticed while sitting on the bench after his night was done. 

The staff's ace said bench/infield coach Kai Correa was beaming when Webb's seven innings were over. 

"Kai was super-excited because I don't think I gave up a ground-ball hit," Webb said. "That has to be a first for me. It has to be a first."

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