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Crawford's feat a first for Giants since Mays

Shortstop leads charge as SF erupts for 19 runs in Game 1 of doubleheader
@MannyOnMLB
July 15, 2019

DENVER -- “Yeah, but RBIs don’t matter anymore.” Brandon Crawford was joking, of course, using that tongue-in-cheek statement to poke fun at the idea in some sabermetric circles that the stat is of little utility. They do matter. How else would you describe what Crawford did in the first game

DENVER -- “Yeah, but RBIs don’t matter anymore.”

Brandon Crawford was joking, of course, using that tongue-in-cheek statement to poke fun at the idea in some sabermetric circles that the stat is of little utility.

They do matter. How else would you describe what Crawford did in the first game of a doubleheader against the Rockies at Coors Field on Monday?

Box score

In a record-setting 19-2 victory, Crawford became the third Giants player since the franchise moved to San Francisco in 1958 to drive in eight runs in a single game. He joined legends Willie Mays (April 30, 1961 vs. the Cubs) and Orlando Cepeda (July 4, 1961 at the Milwaukee Braves) in that prestigious club. He is also the first Giants player with two homers and eight RBIs in a game since Mays in ’61.

To be mentioned in the same breath with Mays and Cepeda is a feat in itself, no matter what the category. But Crawford did more than that: he became the first shortstop in MLB history to have five hits and eight RBIs in a single game.

“I hit with a lot of guys on base today, which was nice,” Crawford said. “To be able to get some hits with guys in scoring position was definitely good for us.”

Monday’s offensive eruption was a quantum leap, at least for a game, for a San Francisco lineup that has been trending up over the last few weeks after a disappointing first two months of the season.

It was also the same for Crawford, who had been showing signs of thawing at the plate before his record-setting performance. On June 18, Crawford was hitting .206/.278/.318 with five home runs. In the 16 games since, he’s slashing .356/.409/.644 with three homers.

“I’ve been feeling a lot better. Even before the [All-Star] break I was starting to feel a lot better at the plate,” Crawford said. “There were a couple of at-bats in Milwaukee where I was battling deep into counts, and even drawing walks kind of helps your confidence going forward.”

“I think his timing is better, his point of contact has been better,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s thrown out better at-bats recently, and that’s critical for us, to have our core guys swinging well here in the second half.”

Beyond Crawford’s huge game, Buster Posey launched his second homer in four games after having two all season to that point, and he is hitting .390 over his last 11 games.

The Giants look like a completely different team offensively from what we saw in the first half of the season, when they finished with a 28th-ranked 79 wRC+. Suddenly, San Francisco’s lineup is on fire. The 94 runs the club has scored in its last 11 games are more than any Giants team has scored in any 11-game stretch in the San Francisco era.

The 19 runs scored in the win were the most the Giants have ever scored at Coors Field, and the most they have scored in any game since September 14, 2013 at Dodger Stadium. They scored 12 runs over the first three innings, something they hadn’t done in a road game since July 9, 1993, when they scored 13 and beat the Phillies at Veterans Stadium, 13-0.

Crawford and Mike Yastrzemski (4-for-6 with a homer and a double) both had at least four hits, three runs scored and three RBIs, making them the first Giants duo to have those numbers in a single game since Barry Bonds and Matt Williams against the Braves on April 18, 1993, at Candlestick Park.

This game will be remembered for records falling, but Crawford was at its epicenter. And he knows the RBIs matter, especially when you tally 21 percent of your season total in a single game.

“Huge day here, no getting around it,” Bochy said of Crawford. “But good for him. I know it was a tough first half, but what’s important is that you keep going hard and try to get it right the second half.”

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.