Down to last out, Crawford's walk-off was rare Giants feat originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO -- Until Mike Yastrzemski stunned Josh Hader last month, the last walk-off homer at Oracle Park had been hit by a San Diego Padre. It was one of the weirdest baseball facts you can imagine, and it was only possible because of scheduling changes brought about by the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. But Trent Grisham is now far in the rearview mirror.
Crawford hit his game-winner with two outs in the ninth and the Giants trailing 1-0. According to ESPN Stats & Info, it was the first time the Giants hit a walk-off when down to their final out since 2009, when a young Pablo Sandoval beat the Washington Nationals.
The Sandoval game-winner came in a very different type of game. It was a rare night when Matt Cain got plenty of support, but he couldn't make it hold up. The Giants scored five early runs but the Nationals stormed back with three in the seventh and three more in the eighth off right-handed reliever Bob Howry. Trailing 6-5 in the ninth, the Giants made two quick outs before Emmanuel Burriss reached on an infield single and Edgar Renteria walked.
Sandoval, in his second big league season, got a 2-2 fastball and blasted it into the seats in left. "I just wanted to get my pitch to drive the ball," he told reporters after the game. "I didn't want to tie it. I wanted to finish the game."
Since Sandoval's walk-off, there had been just two Giants walk-off homers before this season that came when they were trailing, including Angel Pagan's famous inside-the-park game-winner. With Crawford's, the Giants now have three such homers in a month. This is the first time since 1973 that they've had three walk-off homers in one season while trailing.
Sandoval's homer was similar to Crawford's in one other way. It gave that 2009 team a three-game winning streak, while Crawford's extended the current run to five straight. Like Sandoval, Crawford was looking for a pitch he could drive. He knew Ian Kennedy would lean heavily on his fastball.
"I decided to get on a fastball and hit it hard," he said.