Crawford seizes opportunity, drives in 5 runs

Crawford seizes opportunity, drives in 5 runs

SAN DIEGO -- Forget about whether Brandon Crawford's offensive statistics might sink to ordinary levels at times. What's important is that the Giants' shortstop is always ready to seize an opportunity.

This happened on Tuesday night, as Crawford drove in every run for the Giants in their 5-1 victory over the San Diego Padres. Crawford hastened San Francisco's sixth consecutive victory with a three-run homer in the second inning, a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning and an RBI double in the eighth. He fell one RBI short of his single-game personal best, which he reached on May 16, 2005, at Cincinnati.

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The National League's reigning Silver Slugger Award winner has endured fluctuations in his performance so far. He entered Tuesday with a .192 batting average (5-for-26) and one RBI in his previous seven games. Yet following San Francisco's latest victory, Crawford owned a .257 average, .001 higher than his season-ending figure from 2015. He had five home runs and 21 RBIs, putting him roughly on pace to match the 21-homer, 84-RBI output that helped him earn a six-year, $75 million contract extension during the offseason.

Crawford frequently has attempted to remain productive while batting in front of the pitcher, which is rarely an advantageous spot. That player -- who bats seventh if the pitcher occupies the eighth hole, which has frequently been the case this season for Crawford -- still sees fewer hittable pitches than the average position player.

Crawford's RBI double

"I know I'm batting in front of a good-hitting pitcher," Crawford said, referring to Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco's starter on Tuesday. "But he's still a pitcher."

So Crawford copes, as he did against the Padres, by swinging aggressively. He recorded his homer by driving Colin Rea's 3-0 delivery an estimated 423 feet to right-center field. Somewhat remarkably, in five career swings on a 3-0 count, Crawford has homered three times and doubled once. Sixty-seven times he has settled for a relatively boring conclusion by drawing a walk.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy rarely hesitates to give his hitters permission to swing in 3-0 situations.

"It's [a matter of] having confidence in the guys," Bochy 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.