"I knew it was something I needed to work on," Crawford said. "Whether he said I needed to or not."
That work came early and often this spring. Crawford put plenty of mileage on the arm of new left-handed batting practice coach Chad Chop, working on every possible situation and pitch. With the score tied at 4-all in the 10th inning Sunday, Brothers -- who had a 1.74 ERA last season -- tried to bust Crawford on a fastball down-and-in.
He missed his spot. Crawford didn't. He stood at the plate for a moment, watching the game winner soar over the bricks.
"I was making sure it stayed fair," Crawford said, a wry grin on his face. "I knew I hit it pretty good."
The homer clinched the series for the Giants and brought a thrilling conclusion to a day that briefly went off the rails in the late innings. After getting shut out Saturday, the Giants were held silent for four innings by Tyler Chatwood, but they broke through in the fifth on Crawford's sacrifice fly and Angel Pagan's two-run single. Pablo Sandoval's solo homer in the sixth gave Tim Hudson a 4-1 lead, and the right-hander looked as if he would pick up a complete game with room to spare.