Juan Pierre has collected more infield hits than anyone else in the game since arriving in the majors in 2000, but he had never won a game with one until now.
Pierre beat out a grounder to deep short in the bottom of the 11th inning to score Jimmy Rollins and give the Phillies an 8-7 win over the Cardinals on Sunday.
It was Pierre’s sixth career game-winning hit. Half of them came in the Marlins’ championship year in 2003. He also had one for Florida in 2005, one for the White Sox last year and now today’s. All six hits were singles, but the first five all went to the outfield.
The Phillies were in a position to win it today because journeyman catcher Erik Kratz came up big with a three-run homer in the eighth. The 33-year-old Kratz entered the 2012 season with 40 at-bats and one RBI as a major leaguer. Filling in for Brian Schneider earlier and Carlos Ruiz currently, he has five homers, five doubles and 12 RBI in 45 at-bats this year.
The victory went to Jeremy Horst, his first in 27 appearances as a major leaguer. Left-hander Barret Browning took his second loss in three days for the Cardinals.
The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.
Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.
The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.
In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.