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Brandon Crawford leads Giants to a 6-4 win over Padres
March 21, 2013, 05:00 AM The Associated Press
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Brandon Crawford hopes to change the perception that he's a liability at the plate.

The slick-fielding shortstop helped his cause Wednesday, getting three hits and an RBI in a Giants split squad's 6-4 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Crawford hopes to improve last year, his first full season, when he hit .248 with .304 on-base percentage. This spring Crawford is batting .273, and he's hitting .321 with a .403 OBP in March. He thinks the improvement is a sign of good things to come.

"I'd like to think it is," said Crawford, who went 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI. "I've hit wherever I've gone in the minors, and I had a good second half last year I'd like to build on. I've really been feeling good and I've been gaining confidence this spring. I've been in the league a little while, and I think I'm ready to take that next step as a hitter."

Crawford's first step forward came in August 2012. He hit .285 over the final two-plus months of the season, and considers this spring a launching pad for further growth.

"My timing has been good, especially over the last few weeks," Crawford said. "We have another week or so to get right before the regular season, and I'll continue to work and fine tune and prepare for what I believe will be a productive season."

Left fielder Carlos Quentin played the outfield for the first time this spring. He's been sidelined with knee discomfort, but came out of the game physically fine. Quentin played three innings in left field. He went 0 for 3 with a walk.

Padres starter Andrew Cashner wasn't as efficient has he had been in two previous spring appearances.

The Padres hoped Cashner would get into the fourth inning with less that 40 pitches, but he didn't make it through the third -- he threw 31 pitches in the first.

Cashner gave up one run on three hits in 2 2-3 innings, but he struck out four in his second start.

After starting late due to offseason thumb surgery, Cashner is trying to elevate his pitch count to be considered for the starting rotation come opening day.

"We're still not sure on that. It's going to be close," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Today, I thought he was much better after the first inning. He was a little erratic, but I thought he recovered well and spotted his fastball and change up much better in the second. He's making progress, and he'll continue to grow as he gets more opportunities to pitch."

Giants starter Chad Gaudin pitched three innings and gave up two runs on seven hits. He had two strike outs. Giants left fielder Gregor Blanco had two hits, including a perfectly placed bunt single. Padres catcher John Baker also had two hits.

NOTES: RHP Jason Marquis started a Class-A game in Peoria and threw 90 pitches. C Yasmani Grandal also played, and went 1 for 3. C Nick Hundley and OF Chris Denorfia were sent home with flu-like symptoms. RHP Edinson Volquez traveled back to camp after representing the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. He's expected to make a start for the Padres on Friday or Saturday. INF Logan Forsythe (plantar fasciitis) is expected to play in a game this weekend. Forsythe has been out since March 7. Giants 2B Brock Bond left the game with an abdominal strain. He was removed after being walked in the fourth inning.


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