Crawford stays hot, homers in Giants’ 9-4 win over Rockies
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Brandon Crawford credited a tip from Giants teammates Pablo Sandoval and Gregor Blanco for helping get his season turned around at the plate.
First baseman Brandon Belt, in turn, credited Crawford with helping keep San Francisco’s offense going while the team awaits the return of several key injured players.
Crawford got three more hits and drove in four runs as the Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 9-4 on Saturday to end a three-game skid.
“He’s pretty unbelievable right now,” Belt said. “He’s just doing what everybody knows he can do. He just got some confidence, made a few adjustments at the plate and he looks great up there. He’s a big reason we are where we are right now.”
San Francisco began the day four games out of first place in the NL West despite being without its top two pitchers and second baseman Joe Panik for a long stretch.
Crawford, the Giants’ Gold Glove-winning shortstop, batted .189 through the first month of the season. He got going after talking to Sandoval and Blanco.
“They remembred my hands being up a little bit higher when I would load, so I tried it and it started to work so I stuck with it,” Crawford said. “It’s more of a mental thing, just kind of getting my hands up and into the right spot by the time I start my swing. It’s not a huge adjustment. I’m talking like a couple inches higher.”
Crawford reached on a bloop single in the second inning, had a two-run double in the third and homered in the sixth following Evan Longoria’s leadoff single. The home run off reliever Chris Rusin was the fourth this season for Crawford and helped raised his batting average to .449 (31 for 69) in May.
The Giants had been limited to three runs or fewer in eight of their previous 12 games and had lost each of those eight. They broke out in a big way as Andrew McCutchen doubled twice, singled and added two RBIs on a day when every San Francisco starter had at least one hit. Belt. Buster Posey, Miguel Gomez and Longoria each had two.
“I still don’t think we’ve hit our stride,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “Sure, we had a good game today, but as we move forward it’s going to be important that we are consistent in putting these runs on the board. This offense is capable of doing that.”
Chris Stratton (5-3) scuffled through another start but went five innings, allowing four runs and eight hits. Stratton pitched with runners on base every inning and committed an error in the second, but minimized the damage by getting Colorado to ground into a pair of double plays.
Charlie Blackmon had two hits and scored twice for the Rockies. Colorado lost for only the second time in 10 road games this month.
“We fought back a couple of different times which was great, but we didn’t make enough good pitches throughout the course of our day from all three of our pitchers,” Rockies manager Bud Black said.
Jon Gray (4-6) allowed five runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings in the loss. “It was frustrating from the get-go really,” Gray said. “I think sometimes I get worried about things that I can’t control.”
McCutchen bruised his knee sliding into second base in the seventh. He is day-to-day.
Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner threw 40 pitches off the mound in the bullpen before the game. Bumgarner will face hitters for the first time Tuesday in Houston, then will begin a rehab assignment with Sacramento on Saturday. Bochy said he wants Bumgarner stretched out to at least 75 pitches before the team brings him back up. ... RHP Johnny Cueto (elbow inflammation) was scheduled to visit with a doctor and will head to Arizona to continue his rehab when the Giants leave on their road trip Monday. ... Former closer Mark Melancon (right elbow flexor strain) will pitch for Triple-A Sacramento on Monday.
Colorado’s Tyler Anderson (3-1, 4.30 ERA) pitches against San Francisco’s Ty Blach (3-4, 4.05) in a matchup of left-handers in the series finale Sunday afternoon. Anderson is winless in three career starts against the Giants. Blach failed to make it past the fifth inning in each of last of his last two starts.