Crazy Number 7 – Brandon Crawford
This is baseball in a nutshell.
I landed in the record books with seven hits on Monday night.
The day before, I went 0-for-4.
The day after, I went 0-for-4.
Try to make sense of it and you’ll go crazy.
I began the game using the same bat I’d be using the whole road trip. The way I’d been hitting during the road trip, there was absolutely no indication that bat had so many hits in it. Though I guess I could look at it another way: the bat had plenty of hits left because I sure hadn’t used up too many.
I remember being pretty happy with my first hit on Monday night, a two-strike squib in the second inning that Dee Gordon couldn’t make a play on. I don’t get too many infield singles, so it felt like a gift.
My second hit was a lead-off double over the first-base bag. Again a little lucky. A few inches to the right and it’s foul.
I struck out my third time up.
Then, down 5-1 in the seventh, I got a two-hopper between first and second in the five-run rally that put us ahead 6-5.
We fell behind again, 7-6, and in the eighth I jammed a blooper into right field that tied the score at 7. I thought Giancarlo Stanton had a chance to dive and catch it, so I lucked out again a bit there.
Now it’s the 11th inning. Buster’s on first, no outs. I get two strikes, foul twice, then hit a line-drive single up the middle. That’s when Buster tried to eat third base. I was worried at first then he got up and, other than a little embarrassed, he looked fine. So of course I thought it was pretty funny — until I heard that he had jammed his finger. And that scrape on his chin was pretty bad.
(But Buster had a sense of humor about it. In the clubhouse after the game, I saw him on his phone watching it on the MLB app and he was laughing to himself. MLB network showed it in slow-motion on TV and we all got laughing. His finger was still hurting, though, and he sat out the next day.)
So that was my fifth hit. I’d never had five hits in a game before. I’d only gotten four a couple times. So I’m thinking this is pretty cool. And I figured that was it. We were already in extra innings, so I probably wasn’t going to get another at-bat, much less another hit.
But the game slogs into the 13th and I hit a triple to right.
Six hits. Crazy.
Now we go to the 14th. Belt and Buster get on base. Two outs. Here I come to the plate. I’m no statistician, but with six hits already, I know I’m not going to get a hit. I’m due – overdue – to make an out. I’m thinking, “It’s too bad it’s me in this situation. This kind of sucks for us.’’
The Marlins had just brought in Andrew Cashner to pitch. I’d done fairly well against Cashner. I know what he has. But of course I don’t know how he’s going to pitch me here. First pitch is a ball. Then I get a slider up the middle that I drive into center. And we go ahead, 8-7.
After the game, after watching all the replays of Buster’s face-plant, a reporter told me that seven hits in a game is rarer than a perfect game. I shared this information almost immediately with Matt Cain. He was a bit defensive, pointing out that every starting pitcher has a chance to get a perfect game but rarely does, while most batters never even have the chance to get seven hits.
Well, I don’t care. I’m pretty thrilled with it. I’m never going to get the home run record or career hits record, but I’ve been incredibly lucky in the record-book department. I’m one of just six players to hit a grand-slam in my first Major League game. And I’m the first shortstop in baseball history to hit a grand slam in a post-season game (2014 Wild Card game against the Pirates).
It’s crazy to think that in the whole history of the game, you’re among such a small group of people who accomplished a particular feat.
However puffed up I might have been feeling on Monday, I was humbled on Tuesday with the 0-for-4. That’s the game. Always humbling you.
I think I’ll blame it on giving the bat to the Hall of Fame. Maybe it still had some juice in it.
MLB has to authenticate all your stuff from the game on the day it happens, so they were in the clubhouse that night. They authenticated my bat, gloves, helmet, jersey and cleats. I’m keeping the jersey and the cleats. The jersey just because I want it. And the cleats because they’re the only ones I have and want to use them the rest of the season.
I think I’m getting the lineup card, too.
I know right now it might not look like that 14-inning win is the turning point in our season. But I think it still might prove to be the moment we look back on. We had to grind it out – Bochy in the hospital, Pence with his black eye, Buster with his scraped face and jammed finger. As Jon Miller said, we looked like a poster from the Civil War.
We were feeling pretty great that night though we were completely exhausted. You couldn’t help but look around the clubhouse and think, I’ll take my chances with these guys any day.