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'Underrated' Crawford racks up six RBIs

Giants shortstop tallies three hits, including grand slam, in win over Reds

CINCINNATI -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy knows how blessed he is to have a shortstop who can hit like this.

Brandon Crawford drove in a career-high six runs Saturday night and belted his fourth career grand slam as the Giants overpowered Cincinnati, 11-2, at Great American Ball Park.

"He's so gifted defensively, but he's underrated as a hitter," Bochy said.

"Look at the numbers. He's a very productive hitter who finds a way to get the runs in. He seems to have great focus up there with men on base. He's dangerous, too. He can hit the ball out of the park, as you saw. He's a good baserunner. He's just a good all-around ballplayer."

Crawford, who batted seventh Saturday, leads the Giants with 24 RBIs and is tied with Buster Posey for the team lead with six homers. The 28-year-old former UCLA star has averaged eight homers and 57 RBIs over the last three seasons.

He is hitting .352 (19-for-54) over his last 17 games.

Hunter Pence scored on each of Crawford's first three hits. Pence was activated Saturday after having spent the entire season on the 15-day disabled list with a broken left arm suffered during Spring Training. Pence doubled ahead of Crawford's RBI single to center in the second inning and singled ahead of Crawford's run-scoring double in the fourth.

"I saw him flying around out there," Crawford said. "It is nice to have him back, to have his energy in the dugout and on the field."

Crawford came up in the fifth after hits by Posey and Brandon Belt and a walk to Pence had loaded the bases. He blasted Mike Leake's 1-0 pitch 412 feet, a half-dozen rows up into the center-field seats, extending a five-run Giants lead to 9-0.

Video: [email protected]: Crawford smashes a grand slam to center

"You're trying to be selectively aggressive, especially when the pitcher's back is against the ropes," Crawford said. "Leake will throw anything in any count."

The opportunity to hit for the cycle was present during Crawford's final two at-bats, but he grounded out and struck out.

"It was in the back of my mind, but [hitting for the cycle] is not something you can try for," Crawford said.

Andy Call is a contributor to
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