Maybin steals show with bat, spectacular catch
Center fielder drives in two runs, robs Owings in Friday's win over D-backs
ATLANTA -- Cameron Maybin has cooled off since entering the All-Star break as arguably Atlanta's most valuable player. But the rejuvenated center fielder made his presence known once again on Friday night, when he contributed a pair of key two-out hits and made a sensational catch that helped the Braves claim a 3-2 win over the D-backs at Turner Field.
After driving in two of Atlanta's three runs through the first five innings, Maybin preserved David Aardsma's two innings of one-run relief by making what might have been a game-saving catch to end the top of the seventh. The athletic outfielder legitimized his Spidey-Maybin nickname when he ranged into right-center field and dove headfirst across the grass to rob Chris Owings of what would have been at least a double.
According to Statcast™, Maybin's top speed was 19.364 mph with a distance covered of 78.677 feet.
"I saw the ball go up and I had no doubt that he was going to catch it," Aardsma said. "He's done that all year and all season long. I don't think he gets enough credit nationally for what he has done. He looked like he had a bead on it from the second off the bat. I think that picked us all up and gave us the confidence to finish this game off."
Maybin said, "Yeah, for sure," when a reporter asked if he knew whether he would catch Owings' sinking liner. When the reporter laughed, the confident outfielder smiled and responded, "I'm serious. It's just one of those things where you're trying not to run into anybody."
The Braves have benefited from the confidence and energy Maybin seemed to gain, when an Opening Day eve trade sent him from San Diego to Atlanta, which is just a little more than three hours south of his hometown of Asheville, N.C.
Maybin entered Friday having hit just .220 with no homers and a .527 OPS in the 24 games he had played since entering the All-Star break with a .289 batting average, eight homers and a .774 OPS. But his recent struggles were halted when he recorded consecutive two-out, RBI triples with Jace Peterson in the third inning and then chased D-backs starter Robbie Ray with what proved to be a decisive RBI single in the fifth inning.
"I take a lot of pride on the defensive end, as much as I do in the [batter's] box," Maybin said. "We were able to come up with some big two-out knocks. Any time you can score with two outs, it's huge."
Even with his recent struggles, Maybin has still batted .389 (35-for-90) with runners in scoring position this season. He entered this year having hit just .228 in his career with runners in scoring position.
"Sometimes, you get lucky, but I think it comes from the consistent, quality at-bats and just continuing to be a tough out," Maybin said. "When you're a tough out and put together quality at-bats, good things happen."