San Francisco Giants

Opting to play through grief, Giants’ Crawford blasts homer: ‘That one was for Jenn’

The (San Jose) Mercury News

Giants fans geared up and ready for home opener

San Francisco Giants fans didn't seem to notice the long lines or crowded walkways in and around AT&T Park on Monday, but were found cheering, waving signs, showing off memorabilia and wearing thier most outrageous Giants gear; anything to show su
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San Francisco Giants fans didn't seem to notice the long lines or crowded walkways in and around AT&T Park on Monday, but were found cheering, waving signs, showing off memorabilia and wearing thier most outrageous Giants gear; anything to show su

After a death in the family, Brandon Crawford was asked if he wanted to sit Friday night out. Giants Manager Bruce Bochy approached the shortstop to see if he needed a longer break.

Not a chance.

“He wanted to play tonight,” Bochy said.

Crawford promptly delivered a home run during an 8-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park, then slowed and looked skyward as he reached home plate.

This was no ordinary home run. It came a day after Crawford took time to mourn the death of his sister-in-law, Jennifer Pippin. Jalynne Crawford shared on social media that her oldest sister died Wednesday of an asthma attack.

“I tried to get around the bases as fast as I could. That one was for Jenn,” Crawford said. “Something like that, it lets you know that there’s somebody greater out there that’s looking over you.

“I know she was watching this game tonight and I was glad I could do something.”

Jalynne took to Twitter immediately after Crawford’s home run Friday: “I know she’s screaming in heaven right now! His home run brought tears to my eyes.”

Crawford’s homer, his second of the season, gave the Giants a 4-0 lead, an ample cushion for Johnny Cueto. The Giants right-hander pitched seven strong innings to improve to 6-0 over his past eight games against the Rockies.

Chris Marrero added his own emotional home run, a milestone moment of his baseball odyssey. The Giants left fielder spent 11 seasons languishing in the minors, racking up 4,005 at-bats in places like Potomac, Hagerstown and Somerset.

His reward for making the Giants opening day roster this season? Angry grumbling about the team’s lack of production in left field.

But with one swing of the bat, Marrero made it worth the wait. His first major league home run came at age 28. Marrero didn’t hide his emotions.

“You think about those moments when you start playing baseball,” he said. As for going around the bases, he added: “You think about every single thing. I thought about my family and everyone who helped me along the way. It was amazing.”

Marrero’s home run gave the Giants a 2-0 lead in the second. The 400-foot blast, off left-hander Tyler Anderson, came in his 144th major league at-bat. He got the milestone baseball back, but it took some negotiating. “The fan wanted Dodgers tickets,” Marrero said with a laugh.

The early runs helped Cueto, who continued his mastery of Colorado. He entered the game with a 1.33 ERA and a .223 batting average against over his last seven starts against the Rockies.

He ran into some trouble in the fifth, when second baseman Joe Panik botched a double-play ball. But Cueto rebounded one batter later by coaxing a grounder to short off the bat of D.J. LeMahieu, and this time the Giants converted a 6-4-3 double play.

“Once I saw I had the lead, I knew I had to grind it, pitch and hold onto that lead,” he said.

In all, Cueto allowed two runs on six hits, with one walk and six strikeouts. It was nice timing. The first 40,00 fans at AT&T Park on Saturday will receive a Johnny Cueto Shimmy Bobblehead. Cueto says he doesn’t have one yet.

▪ Giants catcher Buster Posey played catch and took some swings before the game and remains on track to come off the 7-day disabled list when he’s eligible next Tuesday.

“He’s doing well right now,” Manager Bruce Bochy said.

Posey will “ramp up” his baseball activity over the weekend, Bochy said, including running the bases Sunday. If Posey makes it through the weekend tests without lingering concussion symptoms, he would be activated for the three-game road series against the Kansas City Royals.

Even then, Posey would probably serve as the designated hitter. Bochy said the Giants will only activate Posey if he’s 100 percent, but added that it “just makes sense” to spare him the extra risk that would come with playing behind the plate.

“It gives him three more extra days,” Bochy said.

Posey left Monday’s game after being hit in the head by a pitch from Taijuan Walker of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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