It's time Astros fans got to know Cameron Maybin, the waiver claim Houston made on August 31st when the Angels of Anaheim cut him loose. In just a week's time, the slender, speedy outfielder has crushed three home runs, including the game-winners in both Tuesday's 3-1 victory at Seattle and Wednesday's 5-3 triumph over the Mariners.
Maybin: Sudden home run power
(c) Associated Press
If the Angels goofed, they're not the only ones. Taken in the 10th overall spot in the 2005 draft by the Detroit Tigers, Maybin was the key piece in the 2007 megatrade that sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis from the Marlins to Detroit. Since then, he's bounced from Miami to San Diego to Atlanta and back to Detroit before getting traded to the Angels last winter.
The 30-year-old just never lived up to that awful word "potential". He's good with the glove and on the bases but is just a major league average hitter (.697 career OPS) when much more was expected. Suddenly, as the 25th man in Houston, he's come seemingly from obscurity to give the Astros a lift.
With the score 3-3 in the ninth and pinch-runner Jake Marisnick at third, Maybin sliced a 1-0 pitch into the right field corner that hit the foul pole in fair territory above the yellow stripe for a two-run game-deciding blast. Chris Devenski then induced a double play and fanned Mike Zunino to end the game and push Houston's win streak to seven.
Lance McCullers' return from the Disabled List was the headliner before the game. He had a fairly average start, allowing three runs in 5-1/3rd innings. He only allowed four hits and one walk while striking out four. One of those hits was a solo shot from Kyle Seager who has been to the Astros what Maybin has been to the Mariners. He also allowed a triple to Jean Segura which keyed a two-run sixth that gave Seattle their only lead.
Houston scored first when Marwin Gonzalez drilled a two-run double in the fourth off Andrew Moore. Later, George Springer dumped a single that plated Gonzalez in the seventh and set the stage for the dramatic ninth.
The Astros will get Thursday off before beginning a four-game weekend series Friday night in Oakland. One of the games is a make-up for a rainout earlier in the year. Collin McHugh (2-2) will take the mound for the Astros against Jharel Cotton (7-10) who was a tough customer for Houston hitters the last time they met. The first pitch will be at 9:05 Central at the Yo.ko Ono Coliseum. The Athletics have won just three of the 15 meetings with the Astros thus far.
- Bob Hulsey