Crawford sees payoff from good at-bats

Giants shortstop hits go-ahead 3-run homer, RBI single in win vs. Reds

Crawford sees payoff from good at-bats

CINCINNATI -- Entering Monday, most of the statistics illustrating Brandon Crawford's hitting were cold and harsh.

Those numbers still aren't great. But Crawford took a huge first step toward reversing them in his favor as he drove in the Giants' final four runs with a three-run homer in the seventh inning and an RBI single in the ninth to help San Francisco surge past the Cincinnati Reds, 9-6.

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"I've felt pretty good at the plate lately," said Crawford, who's batting .253 overall. "I haven't gotten a whole lot of hits, but I've gotten some hard contact and put up some good at-bats that haven't turned into hits. It's been a frustratng week or so, but I felt like my swing was there and the approach was good. I just had to stick with it and keep putting good swings on the ball. Fortunately it paid off tonight."

The Giants shortstop began the series opener against the Reds with a .214 batting average (12-for-56) and four RBIs in his previous 17 games. Through the season, he was 1-for-16 (.063) with runners in scoring position. Both sets of figures worsened as Crawford went hitless in his first three at-bats, two coming with teammates in scoring position.

Then Crawford concluded the Giants' scoring in their five-run seventh inning with his third homer of the season, a drive to right-center field off Reds reliever Drew Hayes.

Crawford's RBI single

Bothered by his lack of productivity with runners in scoring position, Crawford told reporters, "I was surprised one of you guys hadn't asked me about that already. It's nice to have a game where you actualy get a hit with a guy in scoring position."

Crawford, the National League's reigning Silver Slugger Award winner for offensive excellence at his position, sensed he was bound for improvement. Last Saturday in New York, with two teammates aboard in the eighth inning, he clobbered a ball to the warning track that almost seemed to pin Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson against the barrier.

Though Crawford's results haven't been consistent, he has tried to maintain a steady approach toward hitting. Noticing he was fouling a number of pitches straight back, he worked hard recently on coordinating his left hand more properly.

"My top hand was getting under the ball a little bit," he said.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.