When Carl Crawford attended Jefferson Davis High School in Houston, he was a highly regarded quarterback with multiple scholarship offers.
But he never faced hits like this.
After delivering a walk-off double off the Green Monster on Monday night in the Red Sox's 2-1, 11-inning win over the Twins, Crawford was mobbed by his teammates as he rounded second base. Kevin Youkilis, in fact, delivered what would've amounted to an open-field tackle in the NFL.
"Man, Youk got me pretty good," Crawford said. "Then all the rest of the guys came on the field. You just try not to get hurt on a scuffle like that."
After what Crawford has been through this season, he doesn't mind the pain.
Crawford batted .155 in April, a slump that got so bad he turned off his phone to block out the flood of calls of encouragement from family, friends and even a longtime hitting coach in Houston. But as the calendar has turned to May, Crawford has gotten hot. He delivered a walk-off hit May 1 against the Mariners and has 13 hits in his last 36 at-bats, including Monday night's game-winner that scored rookie shortstop Jose Iglesias from first base.
"Where I came from (last month), I didn't have a clue, and now I have one," Crawford said. "It's like night and day. It just lets you know that you can still do those kinds of things. Sometimes, you need little boosts like that to get you going, and in my case, it got me going a little bit."
The biggest difference for Crawford: mechanics. Rather than jumping at the ball by starting his stride and his swing prematurely, he's waiting and getting a better look at pitches.
"It's expected," first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said of Crawford's resurgence. "That's what he does. It's who he is. It's exciting to finally see him where he's comfortable and he's doing the things he normally does. We all knew it was only a matter of time. He's going to have that kind of production the rest of the year."
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