Braves rookie singled in go-ahead run in top of 10th inning vs. Marlins
By Steve Dorsey
Special to MLB.com |
MIAMI -- It's been quite the whirlwind week for Mallex Smith, one that ended Sunday afternoon with his first Major League RBI, driving in the game-winning run in the Braves' 6-5 10-innings win over the Marlins.
Ranked as the Braves' No. 11 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, the young outfielder was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett and made his MLB debut last Monday at Washington. There, he collected his first career Major League hit. However, the speedy center fielder had to leave the game in the fourth inning after suffering a laceration above his left eye on an attempted stolen base.
Smith returned to the lineup on Tuesday, but he went hitless in three at-bats. However, the 22-year-old rookie followed that by registering his first career stolen base on Wednesday.
Then in Miami, the Braves found their first three wins of the season, completing a three-game sweep over the Marlins.
Smith had struggled at the plate since his promotion and entered Sunday's game with a .105 batting average. When he came to bat with two outs in the top of the 10th inning, however, Smith was determined to add another chapter to his storybook first week in the Majors. He stroked a single to center that scored Drew Stubbs after the Marlins had rallied from a 5-0 deficit to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth.
"He had a tough game offensively until that point," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Smith, who was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a walk prior to his RBI single. "But the kid battles, and he's got confidence in himself, and good for him."
As Smith was packing his bag to head back to Atlanta, the scar above his eye from Tuesday still very visible, he described his game-winning hit off Marlins reliever Edwin Jackson.
"I've been missing a lot of fastballs. I didn't want to miss a fastball if I got it," Smith said. "That's how baseball works. You don't really know what's going to happen. In baseball, especially, you fail so much that you just got to stay mentally in there. Don't get too down on yourself, and just stay ready for your moment."
Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.