How Giants’ Game Pederson assisted in Jason Krizan’s first MLB hit

How Joc assisted in Krizan’s long-awaited first MLB hit originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO – Joc Pederson walked out onto the grass at Oracle Park on Sunday morning and took a lap of the outfield. That was the last time he was seen until the seventh, when he briefly grabbed a bat and stepped out onto the dugout steps, a deke meant to give the Washington Nationals one more thing to think about as the Giants tried to rally.

But Pederson did have a hand in the best moment of the day for the Giants.

After 1,132 games in the minors, Jason Krizan finally got into a big league game on Friday and then again on Saturday, but he was hitless in five at-bats entering the final series. In the morning, Pederson and Krizan chatted, in part about how they use similar bats. His second time up, Krizan grabbed one of Pederson’s models and smoked a single to right.

“We kind of spoke it into existence,” Krizan said after the 11-5 loss. “The first at-bat I used my bat and I felt a little quick with it. I picked up Joc’s and happened to get the hit. It was pretty cool.”

The moment was one of the highlights of a lackluster weekend for the Giants and the culmination of an incredible journey for Krizan. This is his 11th professional season, but he never stopped believing he could be a big leaguer, and the rowdy crowd of 38,000 certainly made sure he cherished the moment.

Krizan got a loud ovation as he reached first. Josiah Gray, who allowed only that one hit in six innings, stepped off the mound and first base coach Antoan Richardson told Krizan to take a look around.

“I guess the best moment was everything afterwards,” he said of his day. “The crowd was awesome. It was just a special moment.”

Krizan had kept his nerves in check for two days, but he said the jitters flared up at that moment as he took in the reaction. He was too far away to be able to find his family in their seats up near the concourse, but he later saw a video of their reaction.

“That was pretty cool. They were really excited,” he said. “It looked like my son was asleep up until the crowd got really loud.”

The excitement coursed through the Giants’ dugout and clubhouse, too. The ball was collected and immediately put in a case for Krizan, who took more than 4,000 professional at-bats before getting his first big league hit.

“You never take a single hit for granted in the Major Leagues. You never take an inning or a moment for granted in the Major Leagues,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “This is the place that you dream of playing from the time you’re a child and the first time you have a bat in your hands. For Jason, we couldn’t be happier for him.”

Kapler perhaps knew that the dream was fulfilled at a perfect time. The Giants are off on Monday, but they have to cut their roster from 28 to 26 players before Tuesday’s game at Dodger Stadium, so Krizan and pitcher Yunior Marte were optioned Sunday night. They could get Mike Yastrzemski or LaMonte Wade Jr. or both back by then, and Brandon Belt and others are not far behind.

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There’s no guarantee that Krizan will get many opportunities in the near future, but he showed in his first plate appearance Sunday the trait that should bring him back at some point. The Giants trailed 5-0 at the time. If ever there was a time for Krizan to go hunting for that first hit, that was it, but he stayed patient, drawing a walk. It’s that approach that has kept him going through 11 seasons and had the Giants so eager to give him a shot this season.

“I want to stay aggressive but I want to be patient at the same time. I want to get my pitch, I don’t want to hit their pitch,” Krizan said. “I feel like in my career I’ve done a pretty good job at that. I’m not trying to do anything special. I’m not trying to be anybody else now that I’m here. I just go out and play my game. “

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