SAN FRANCISCO (AP) As Brandon Crawford built his Gold Glove resume, the San Francisco Giants shortstop had the desire to pitch. He repeatedly joked about the possibility.
One day after becoming the fourth player in the franchise’s San Francisco era to play in 1,600 games, Crawford - the brother-in-law of pitcher Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees - finally got his chance. Manager Gabe Kapler used him to get the final three outs in a 13-3 blowout win over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.
“It’s always been something I’ve wanted to do,” Crawford said. “I pitched in high school and I pitched in college a little bit. And I’ve always thrown flat grounds and stuff like that, just messing around.”
The Giants were allowed to have some fun after losing six of the previous 10 games and faced with being swept at home for the first time this season.
Seeing the curly-haired Crawford trot out to the mound was the biggest highlight, and had the Oracle Park crowd roaring.
After a brief warm-up in the batting cage, Crawford got off to a shaky start. He threw nine of his 20 pitches for strikes and even got a swing and miss out of Christopher Morel.
“It’s obviously a really cool moment for everybody in the stadium, including the dugout and all of us in the organization,” Kapler said. “It’s fun to see him get that opportunity. We weren’t in a position where we absolutely had to do it, but it felt like the right time.”
Joc Pederson and Thairo Estrada each hit two-run homers and drove in four runs as the Giants built a six-run lead through five innings.
Blake Sabol added two hits and two RBIs for a Giants offense that banged out 15 hits less than 24 hours after being no-hit for 7 2/3 innings by Chicago’s Kyle Hendricks in a 4-0 loss.
That helped offset a San Francisco defense that had four errors, matching the teams high this season.
“It’s a tough to find a game where you make four errors and the other team doesn’t make any and you win a game like we did today,” Kapler said.
San Francisco used John Brebbia as an opener for the second consecutive game. A day after throwing two perfect innings, Brebbia allowed a hit in one inning before the Giants bullpen took over. It was the first time the Giants started the same pitcher on consecutive days since October, when Scott Alexander when two straight days. Chicago hadn’t faced the same starter on consecutive days since 1963.
Pederson finished with four hits, including a two-run drive off Cubs starter Hayden Wesneski in the first inning. He connected for a go-ahead solo shot into McCovey Cove in the third, the 101st home run into the water by a Giants player in the history of Oracle Park. It was Pederson’s 20th career multi-homer game and first since May 24, 2022, when he hit three against the New York Mets.
“I’ve been grinding a lot in the cage just trying to find that rhythm,” said Pederson, who missed 30 games during two stints on the injured list with right hand injuries. “It’s hard to miss time and get back into it. It’s paying off right now.”
Estrada’s third career multi-homer game began with a solo drive off Jeremiah Estrada in the sixth. His second drive came against Javier Assad, a three-run shot in the seventh.
It’s was the first game in which the Giants had two players homer twice in a game since Aug. 16, 2019, when Kevin Pillar and Mike Yastrzemski accomplished the feat against the Diamondbacks.
Tristan Beck (1-0) pitched two innings to win for San Francisco.
Crawford’s first six pitches were balls before he got an 82 mph slider in for a called strike to Nico Hoerner. Hoerner hit a bloop single to center three pitches later. After Christopher Morel grounded into a fielder’s choice, Ian Happ flew out and Dansby Swanson fouled out.
Despite his long desire to pitch, Crawford said he was torn about the idea when Kapler approached him.
“I only played shortstop my whole career. That was something I thought about,” Crawford said. “But I doubt many guys have played only shortstop for 1,600 games and pitched one game. On a list by myself there.”
Yan Gomes had two hits for the Cubs, who failed to score in the first inning after Mike Tauchman doubled on the game’s second pitch and Christopher Morel drew a one-out walk.
Wesneski (2-4) allowed four hits and five runs in three innings. He is winless since April 27.
Two of the Cubs’ runs were unearned and came after errors by the Giants. Their third run came via a replay review in the third.
Estrada fielded Gomes’ one-out grounder and flipped the ball to shortstop Casey Schmitt, who started in place Crawford. Schmitt, whose fielding error an inning earlier led to Chicago’s first run, appeared to make the play for the out, but the Cubs challenged and the call was overturned.
TWO FOR TAUCHMAN
A day after making a spectacular diving backhanded catch near the warning track, Tauchman delivered another defensive gem for the Cubs with a leaping grab near the fence in left-center to rob Wilmer Flores of extra bases.
Cubs: RHP Jameson Taillon (1-4, 7.02 ERA) faces the Pirates for the second time in his career Tuesday in Chicago. Taillon was a first-round pick by Pittsburgh in 2010, when he was selected second overall.
Giants: Following the team’s shortest homestand of the season, RHP Logan Webb (4-6, 3.09) pitches against the Cardinals in St. Louis on Monday. Webb has one win in his previous five starts.
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