Brandon Crawford

Belt's perfect response to Crawford's pitching debut

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Brandon Crawford finally made his long-awaited debut on the mound in the ninth inning of the Giants’ 13-3 rout of the Chicago Cubs on Sunday at Oracle Park.

It was something he joked about for years with former San Francisco teammate Brandon Belt. So, shortly after Giants first baseman Wilmer Flores squeezed a pop up in foul territory for the game’s final out -- one that secured a scoreless inning for Crawford and established his career ERA at 0.00 -- Belt made sure to respond.

"Yeah, that's great," Belt said of Crawford’s pitching debut to’s Henry Schulman. "But I would have pitched an immaculate inning."

Crawford appeared to love the response.

“I’m sure he’ll be very jealous,” Crawford said of Belt after the game. “I’ll make sure to show him the highlight of the last out or something like that.”

After allowing the first two batters to reach base, Crawford buckled down and retired the next three. Christopher Morel grounded out to third base, Ian Happ flew out to left field and Trey Mancini popped out to Flores near first base to end the game.

Consider the door slammed.

Crawford, a part-time pitcher in high school and at UCLA, threw 20 total pitches -- nine fastballs, five curveballs, five changeups and one slider. He averaged 81.9 mph in the inning and peaked at 89.7 mph on a four-seam fastball to Happ.

It was his first inning in the big leagues spent somewhere else besides shortstop. Crawford played 1,564 games at shortstop before Sunday’s ninth inning. Per MLB's Sarah Langs, that’s the second-most fielding games at only one position prior to a pitching debut behind only former Cubs star Mark Grace, who played 2,113 games at first before pitching in 2002.

Grace, however, allowed a homer in his lone inning of work, a blast which happened to be the first of current Cubs manager David Ross’ playing career.

Crawford kept his 0.00 ERA clean.

"It just felt like the right time to have a little fun," Giants manager Gabe Kapler said after the game. "He's been looking for that opportunity for a long time."

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