Maybin makes up for baserunning with heroics
NEW YORK -- Instead of being grilled about the questionable baserunning decisions that were made during the eighth inning of Saturday's 5-3 win over the Mets, Braves center fielder Cameron Maybin stood in front of his Citi Field locker and discussed how he helped transform what would have been a frustrating day into a rather memorable one.
Maybin produced an RBI single during the game-tying rally in the ninth inning and then delivered a go-ahead two-run single in the 11th inning off Carlos Torres. Consequently, there was no longer a reason for him to dwell on what transpired during the eighth inning, when he daringly stole third base because he misread a sign from third-base coach Bo Porter.
After a replay review confirmed Maybin narrowly proved successful with the steal, Porter made an aggressive mistake by having the center fielder attempt to tag and score on Freddie Freeman's fly ball to Darrell Ceciliani in shallow left field. Porter thought Ceciliani's momentum would carry him toward foul territory.
"It's part of the game," Maybin said. "Luckily, we still had a chance to be in the game. That's all I really care about."
Though their bullpen woes have made the past few weeks quite maddening, the Braves are just 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Mets in the National League East. It's hard to tell where they might stand without the presence of Maybin, who has hit .388 with an .856 OPS over the past 15 games.
"I played against him," said Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who notched a career-high four hits in Saturday's win. "He's changed a lot. He's a whole different hitter now. He goes up there and every at-bat, he battles. He's a tough out and he's been playing great defense in center field. He's been an awesome addition."
Rejuvenated by the chance to play close to his North Carolina home and strengthened by the teachings of Braves hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, Maybin has hit .468 (22-for-47) with runners in scoring position.
"I'm just not panicking," Maybin said. "I'm sticking to my approach. Seitz has done a really good job to stay on me about not changing my approach when runners are out there. I've done a good job of honing in on that and being disciplined with that approach."
Given a chance to make amends for what transpired during the eighth inning, Maybin fueled the ninth-inning rally with a two-out RBI single off Hansel Robles. This set the stage for Freddie Freeman to deliver a game-tying single off Alex Torres.
But Maybin delivered his most significant offensive contribution in the 11th inning, when he followed Jace Peterson's sacrifice bunt by drilling what proved to be the game-winner with his two-run single to center field.
"Cameron Maybin had a terrific day at the plate," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Fortunately for the Braves, Gonzalez was able to say this without reason to worry about what Maybin had done during that aggressive eighth-inning trip around the bases.