Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Crawford Is Unsung Hero for the Giants; Giants Notebook; after a Slow Start with the Bat, San Francisco's Shortstop Is Coming Up Big; NLCS: CARDINALS VS GIANTS

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Crawford Is Unsung Hero for the Giants; Giants Notebook; after a Slow Start with the Bat, San Francisco's Shortstop Is Coming Up Big; NLCS: CARDINALS VS GIANTS

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO - If Pete Kozma has been an offensive surprise for the Cardinals in the playoffs, he's not the only light-hitting shortstop who's made a contribution with the bat this postseason.

Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, a .248 hitter in the regular season, had a two-RBI single in the fourth inning of Game 5 and went two for three with a walk in Game 3, though none of his hits figured in the scoring as the heart of the Giants lineup struggled. He also had an RBI double in Game 1, and in Game 5 of a division series with the Reds he went two for four with a triple, driving in the game's first run and eventually scored in a 6-4 win.

In the two games in which the Giants had faced elimination before Game 6, Crawford was three for eight with three RBIs. Then despite not having a hit in Game 6 he drew two walks and scored a run as the Giants won 6-1 to stay alive.

After going hitless in his first four postseason games, he's gone six for 23 since. That's about on par with his regular-season numbers. Crawford, who hails from nearby Mountain View, Calif., is in his first full season in the majors after playing college ball at UCLA.

"I think a very big unsung hero has been Crawford," right fielder Hunter Pence said. "He's had huge hits in both series. He started a big rally in Game 5 in Cincinnati and huge hit in our (Game 2) win at home. He's really had a ton of clutch hits."

SUPER PANDA

The Giants came into Game 6 hitting .216 as a team in the postseason, which makes the fact they got this far in the playoffs fairly surprising.

Among their starters, leadoff hitter Angel Pagan was hitting .209, cleanup hitter Buster Posey was hitting .189, No. 5 hitter Pence was hitting .154 and No. 6 hitter Brandon Belt was hitting .148.

The only Giants having success in the playoffs were second baseman Marco Scutaro, who was hitting .293, and third baseman Pablo Sandoval, also known as Kung Fu Panda, who was hitting .310. Sandoval homered in Games 4 and 5; the Giants have only two other homers in the series.

"I think he's been swinging the bat well," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's seeing the ball really well right now, he's getting some good swings off. …

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