SAN FRANCISCO -- An impressive defensive play from Brandon Crawford prevented an Arizona run in the seventh inning of Tuesday's 8-6 loss in extra innings, which drew the praise of manager Bruce Bochy before Wednesday's rubber game.
With runners on first and third and one out, Jose Mijares coaxed a high chopper up the middle from Ryan Wheeler. Crawford charged all the way from short to snag the grounder, tag out Miguel Montero on the way to second and fire to first to get Wheeler for the inning-ending double play.
"That was one of the better plays I've seen, especially with what was at stake with the runner on third base," Bochy said. "How heads-up it was, how quick he was, how it developed -- it was a tremendous play."
After Crawford's earlier struggles at the position this season, Bochy said that he has heard from other managers who have noted Crawford's improved and polished play, and that he feels Crawford could be a future Gold Glove candidate, if not already being one this season.
"This kid's last two, three months, I don't know who else has played better," Bochy said. "That's how good he has been."
Relievers ready for action despite record game
SAN FRANCISCO -- After tying a Major League record by using 11 pitchers in Tuesday's 8-6 loss to the D-backs, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that all his relief pitchers would be available in Wednesday's series finale.
"They're all doing OK," Bochy said before the game. "Sure, you'd like to give [Sergio] Romo a break, but the rest of them are available. They didn't throw too much as far as workload or pitches."
Only Dan Runzler and Brad Penny weren't used out of the 12-man bullpen Tuesday, with Romo (two innings) and Dan Otero (1 1/3 innings) being the only ones to go for more than an inning.
Bochy's recent bullpen approach has weighed heavily on matchups, with the Giants relying on a rotation of multiple pitchers to combine for outs late in games. In other words, relievers are on notice that they can get their number called at any moment.
"You just have to stay mentally ready at all times," Otero said. "They always say baseball is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical, and there's definitely some truth to that, especially being in the bullpen. Every day you have to stay mentally ready and stay sharp, because if you have to come in and get one out, you better get that out and do your job."
The Giants also plan on adding Clay Hensley, who is recovering from a right groin strain, to the bullpen when he is eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday.
"He got some good work in facing hitters today, and he'll be ready to go when he can come off," Bochy said Wednesday.
Giants going with hot bat in left field
SAN FRANCISCO -- Xavier Nady started in left field against the D-backs on Wednesday against right-handed starter Trevor Cahill, breaking up the platoon the Giants had been utilizing with Gregor Blanco, who bats left-handed.
"To be honest, he's just swinging the bat better than Blanco right now," manager Bruce Bochy said of Nady.
The Giants have stuck with the two-man platoon, though infielders Ryan Theriot and Joaquin Arias have taken fly balls in left field. Rookie Francisco Peguero also remains an option.
"We're talking about the other options, to be honest, but right now we're sticking with those two," Bochy said.
Entering Wednesday, Nady had gone 4-for-10 with three RBIs since joining the Giants last Saturday, while Blanco has batted .244 (11-for-45) in his last 16 gmes, with 18 strikeouts in that span.
Bochy said Justin Christian is set to return Friday from his sprained wrist when he is eligible to be activated from the disabled list and that he will provide further late-game depth at the position.
"He could be a double-switch guy, maybe even start against a lefty," Bochy said. "He'll give us some more speed on the bench, and he's a guy I can use late in the ballgame."
Jay Lee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.