San Francisco – The final game of the season, the fans celebrated longtime shortstop Brandon Crawford in what maybe his final season with the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers scored five runs in the sixth inning to spoil the farewell party, the Giants fell 5-2 to LA in the regular season finale at Oracle Park.
Crawford moved up the lineup to lead off but went 0-for-4 at the plate with a pair of strikeouts. He almost gave the fans one more highlight when attempting an out on James Outman after he stole second base. Catcher Blake Sabol’s throw was too high to Crawford for the out.
After Casey Schmitt homered bottom of the sixth, Crawford made his last plate appearance with the crowd cheering behind him. He grounded out to second in his final at-bat as a San Francisco Giant, the only Major League team he’s been apart of his entire career. Crawford came out for the ninth inning, but was taken out a few moments afterward to receive an ovation from the fans.
“It’s exactly what we hoped for,” Giants acting manager Kai Correa said. “We wanted him to get his flowers, and the biggest thing were those roars and the crowd’s reaction to the opposing dugout’s reaction, our dugout’s reaction, people getting emotional.That’s the loudest noise that overwhelms any production, overwhelms a single swing or a single moment from today’s game.”
Sunday’s game marked Crawford’s 1,655th career game, placing him seventh in Giants history and his 1,616th at shortstop, most ever in franchise history. It was also just the second time in his career that he started in the leadoff spot.
“There was a time where I almost got a little emotional,” said Crawford. “I was just trying to just appreciate it.”
Crawford has yet to fully decide whether or not he’s officially retiring from baseball or coming back for one more year.
“It’s like a dream come true,” he explained on being the local kid who grew up a Giants fan that got to play with the team his entire career. “Just definitely grateful for the opportunity.
The main thing (on possibly returning) would be, do I want to go back to baseball. I’ll talk to my family about everything and I’m gonna go from there. I haven’t made a decision and this year was far from how I pictured it going. It’s just not kind of how I pictured it to go.”
Kyle Harrison started the finale for San Francisco, tossing five no-hit innings with four strikeouts, two walks while hitting three Dodgers on the day. The Giants bullpen, however, did the exact opposite.
Dodgers catcher Will Smith led off the sixth inning with a single off of reliever John Brebbia. Brebbia walked Max Muncy two batters later and Amed Rosario’s RBI single opened the scoring for the Dodgers with two out in the sixth. Outman hit another RBI single to extend the Dodgers lead to 2-0, then Kike Hernandez launched a three-run home run to left to make it 5-0 after the fifth.
Schmitt hit a pair of home runs bottom of the sixth and the eighth inning to close the gap 5-2 entering the final frame. He recorded his fourth and fifth home runs of the season, marking his first-career multi-homer game. Schmitt was just the seventh Giant to homer twice in a game this season and the last since Wilmer Flores did so on July 18 in Cincinnati.
San Francisco finished the regular season at 79-83 while LA got to the 100-win mark at 100-62 for the third straight season and the fourth time in the last five years.
The 79-83 record for the Giants is the sixth time in the last seven years that the team finished with a record at .500 or below, including the COVID-19 shortened 2020 campaign. San Francisco’s last winning season came during the 2021 year, when they finished the season with the best regular-season record in the league.
Photo by Jeff Weisinger