Shortstop Crawford reveling in his first postseason experience

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY SportsBrandon Crawford loves having his family and friends in the crowd at AT&T Park.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY SportsBrandon Crawford loves having his family and friends in the crowd at AT&T Park.

While any player making his first appearance in the postseason is bound to get a thrill out of the experience, Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford has a few extra factors in play during the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Crawford was born in Mountain View and grew up in Pleasanton, and though he has gotten used to playing for the team he rooted for as a kid, having his loved ones close by has made a difference.

“I bought the max amount of tickets we could get,” he said. “I bought all six and I’ve given them to mostly family, but a couple friends also. The crowd obviously here is always fun, and having people that I know here to support me is great.”

Crawford has a familiar face from his childhood in the opposite dugout as well. Cardinals second baseman Daniel Descalso is also a Bay Area native, and the two 25-year-olds have had their paths cross more than once.

“We grew up kind of in the same area and we were on the same 5-year-old soccer team,” Crawford said. “But I moved across the Bay. I actually played him when I was 14 and 15 in Babe Ruth ball and an AAU national championship.”

Crawford said he now views Descalso as someone who embodies “the definition of the Cardinals and how they play.”

Bochy leaning toward Lincecum in Game 4: Manager Bruce Bochy has made a habit of keeping his plans for the Giants’ starting rotation a secret as long as he can, and he has stayed true to form during this series.

Two-time NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum has been lights-out in three appearances as a reliever during the postseason, though Bochy did hint that he is a front-runner to take the hill on Thursday, following Matt Cain’s start in Game 3.

He said Lincecum has had no problem accepting whatever role he needs to take in order to help the team win.

“He said ‘whatever you want me to do to help this team move on, let’s do that,’” Bochy said. “‘If it’s in the bullpen, let’s do it.’ He’s had a great attitude about this. And I think that’s one of the reasons he’s thrown so well. He didn’t hesitate when he said ‘I’m good with that.’”

Pence joins nickname club: Hunter Pence’s pregame speeches are quickly becoming a part of Giants lore. Pair that with his energetic play on the field, the outfielder has earned himself a new nickname.

“It’s a little different in baseball, but it sure helped in Cincinnati,” Bochy said of Pence’s new pregame ritual. “He plays with a lot of passion, emotion, and he speaks the same way. He’s Full Throttle, that’s his nickname. That’s what we call him, how he plays and the same way when he gets in the huddle.”

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