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BOSTON (CBS) – Once he finally got on the field, Carl Crawford wasted no time in making an impact for the Red Sox.
Crawford smacked a single up the middle in the bottom of the first inning, his first at-bat for Boston in 2012, and later scored the game-tying run on an Adrian Gonzalez RBI single.
“I’ve never started a season off with a base hit so that did a lot for me,” Crawford said after Monday night’s 5-1 win over the White Sox. ”I was happy to start the game off that way.”
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“It definitely helps,” he said of the first inning single. “It helps you relax a little bit more and not worry about it so much. It kind of reminds you that you can still do it.”
It was a successful night for Crawford, who went 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored batting second in the lineup. It was his first game of the season after missing the first 89 games of the season with elbow and wrist ailments. Crawford drew a five-pitch walk in the eighth inning and scored his second run of the game on Gonzalez’ three-run home run that gave Boston a 4-1 lead.
But what was most important to the left fielder was the Sox putting another one in the win column.
“It was real nice to play for the win like that; to be able to help and do something important,” he said. “I definitely feel good about the game.”
Crawford still has a long way to go living up to the seven-year, $142 million contract he signed last winter, but he stressed that he will not put as much pressure on himself this season. Last year he was pressing in order to live up to the big deal, and it led to struggles at the plate.
This year, it will be much different and it all started Monday night.
“Today it really wasn’t that bad as I talked to you the first time,” said Crawford, who said he felt a few nerves prior to the game. “It actually felt kind of comfortable for me. I was happy to feel that way instead of being all nerved up.”