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Crawford says leaping catch 'up there' with career best

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LOS ANGELES -- The biggest play of Evan Longoria's night came in the fifth inning, when he launched a 96 mph fastball from Max Scherzer into the seats in left field at Dodger Stadium, bringing home the only run of the night. But his most athletic moment may have been on a play where he never touched the ball. 

When Mookie Betts lined what looked to be a game-tying single toward left field in the seventh inning, Brandon Crawford and Longoria both went airborne. As Crawford reached to the sky, Longoria, still in the air himself, looked over and watched as his teammate made one of the biggest plays of a career full of them. 

"I think I jumped as high, or higher, than he did," Longoria said later. 

Crawford needed every inch of his 6-foot-1 frame and every bit of spring left in his 34-year-old legs to snag the liner, and the Giants needed it to maintain their lead. Betts hit it at 100 mph and Steven Souza Jr. got a good jump off second. The game would have been tied with two runners still on for Trea Turner, but Crawford had other plans. 

"It was hit hard so there wasn't a whole lot to it," he said. "I saw it over my head. I jumped as high as I could, and fortunately I came down with it."

 

Crawford has made a habit of doing that over the last decade, and this season has been his best defensive showing in years. This wasn't anywhere close to his most difficult play to make, but few in his career have carried the same weight. 

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Giants coaches wrestled with the decision to bring McGee in against right-handed hitters with two runners on, but they felt he had swing-and-miss stuff. McGee struck out Austin Barnes before Betts lined out to end the inning. Crawford said the play ranks with his best just "because of the whole situation."

"The tying run on second with two outs, just how hard it was hit," he explained. "Really, the difficulty of the play, I've probably had tougher ones. That one I just throw my glove up there and hope that I come down with it. But it's definitely up there just for the situation alone."

It's not quite as easy as he made it sound. Manager Gabe Kapler credited Crawford for reading the play perfectly and timing his leap. He joked that Crawford had "little boosters there," something Crawford apparently has always had. 

"I think I dunked a couple of times in high school," he said. 

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