Rookie hits in 9th straight game to start career, a Cardinals record
By Jonathan Toye
PITTSBURGH -- Magneuris Sierra spent his entire Saturday traveling. He was in Arkansas when the Cardinals recalled him from Double-A Springfield after placing Stephen Piscotty on the 10-day disabled list. So he flew to Dallas and then to Pittsburgh, not arriving until 9 ET that night.
By now, Sierra is used to traveling. This is the third time that Sierra has shuttled between the Majors and Minors, but he's made the most of every opportunity with the Cardinals. He capitalized again on Sunday, going 4-for-4 with a run in the Cardinals' 4-3 walk-off loss to the Pirates at PNC Park, setting a Cardinals record by hitting in each of his first nine Major League games.
"Today was a really good game, but unfortunately we didn't get the win," Sierra, the Cards' No. 8 prospect according to MLBpipeline.com, said through an interpreter. "I came back with the mentality that I was going to play. So I didn't know when, but I was going to be prepared for it."
Sierra showcased his quickness on Sunday, with three of his hits coming off soft grounders to the right side of the infield. His speed forced infielders to quickly break toward the ball, often resulting in fielding miscues.
"He gets a lot of [infield singles]. Defenders have to quicken things up, and that's putting pressure on the defense," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "… I think it's a great reinforcement for him once he gets down in the count to put the ball in play, and he will make things happen.
"We needed a big day from him, and we got it."
This isn't the first time Sierra has produced at the plate, as he's now hitting .444 with a .487 on-base percentage in 39 plate appearances.
"First of all, he's talented," Matheny said. "And second of all, he's got a mental toughness where he is not overwhelmed by the situation. … He's done everything that we've asked him."
Despite the value that Sierra has brought to the Cardinals, they still consider him a short-term option. The Cardinals expect Randal Grichuk (lower back strain) to be available on Thursday when he comes off the DL, and Piscotty is also expected to return to the lineup soon.
General manager Mike Girsch called Sierra's third stint a "several-day" opportunity, but Matheny suggested that might change if he continues to stay hot at the plate.
"If you throw four hits out there every night, you have a chance to keep playing," Matheny said. "He's going to get regular playing time right now. He's got an opportunity, so we are going to keep firing him in there. We will just see how it plays out."
Jonathan Toye is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh who covered the Cardinals on Sunday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.