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Posey, Crawford hope to 'win it all' for Team USA

MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The time has come for catcher Buster Posey and shortstop Brandon Crawford to channel their multiple skills toward a single goal: winning for the United States.

The pair of Giants played in their final Cactus League game Sunday, a 4-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals, before leaving to join the USA squad that will compete in the World Baseball Classic. As a parting gift to the Giants, both of them provided samples of the talent that enabled them to join the nation's elite.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The time has come for catcher Buster Posey and shortstop Brandon Crawford to channel their multiple skills toward a single goal: winning for the United States.

The pair of Giants played in their final Cactus League game Sunday, a 4-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals, before leaving to join the USA squad that will compete in the World Baseball Classic. As a parting gift to the Giants, both of them provided samples of the talent that enabled them to join the nation's elite.

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:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::

Posey rapped two hits, including a two-run, two-out single that briefly put the Giants ahead, 2-1, in the third inning. Crawford deftly started a fifth-inning double play that enabled Mark Melancon to escape a bases-loaded, one-out jam.

The World Baseball Classic runs from Monday through March 22. In the U.S., games will air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN will provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. will have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament will be distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.

Though these are the early days of March, when they'd typically focus on polishing various facets of their game, Posey and Crawford have shifted into big-game mode.

"Guys at this level aren't going to play just to play. They're playing to win," Posey said. "I feel confident in saying that's everybody's goal."

Video: KC@SF: Crawford starts double play to end the 5th

"If I'm competing against somebody, I want to win," Crawford said. "It's a worldwide tournament. I definitely want to go out there and win it all."

That didn't happen for the U.S. in the three previous Classics. The Americans' best previous showing was a fourth-place finish in 2009. But if the eagerness of Posey and Crawford is any indication, the U.S. should be well-prepared this time around, at least mentally.

"I'm ready to get there," Posey said, jokingly adding that he was weary of Giants teammates asking him when he planned to depart for Florida to join the U.S. squad (answer: Monday).

Asked whether he felt excited by the thought of donning the U.S. red, white and blue uniform, Crawford said, "I was excited about it when I got invited." That occurred late last year.

Crawford wasn't thrilled with the .118 batting average (2-for-17) he has recorded so far in Arizona exhibition games. He said that he felt "close" to reaching full form.

"I'm just not making hard contact yet," he added.

Posey entered last Friday with only four plate appearances this spring but collected three plate appearances in three successive games. That helped sharpen his swing, as his 3-for-6 performance Saturday and Sunday demonstrated.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy pointed out that Team USA should benefit from Posey's vast experience in big games, such as postseason and All-Star contests.

"And these are big games for USA," Bochy said.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

United States, San Francisco Giants, Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey