WASHINGTON – Drew Maggi got his first two major league hits Saturday night, three days after making his big league debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates following 13 years in the minor leagues, in the Pirates 16-1 rout of the Washington Nationals that concluded a day-night doubleheader sweep.
The 34-year-old lined a 2-2 splitter from Hobie Harris into center field for an RBI single in the seventh inning, boosting the Pirates' lead to 13-0.
“Just trying to breathe and look for a pitch I could hit," said Maggi, who was optioned to Double-A Altoona on Saturday morning and was appointed Pittsburgh’s 27th man for the doubleheader, necessitated by Friday’s rainout.
“Not trying to do too much. It was like the perfect hit too, cause I saw it go right through the middle and it’s so vivid in my mind right now,” he said. "I was so happy I got it done, got that weight lifted off my shoulders.”
Knowing he was playing his final game before being sent down, Maggi was determined not to waste an at-bat and fouled off a pair of 2-2 pitches before making solid contact.
“It was kind of like it was do or die here," he said. “I know, of all people, that this can end very quickly. Who knows where it goes from here. Maybe I never get back up here and that was it. That was going through my head the whole day, so it was kind of like, ’you know what? I’m swinging. I’m going out hacking.'”
Fans at Nationals Park chanted Maggi’s name during and after the at-bat and again when he came off the field at the end of the half inning. His teammates cheered from the railing of the dugout.
“I think everybody in that dugout has played baseball for a long time and they know what he’s put into it, and the fact that he got a hit was really cool," manager Derek Shelton said.
Maggi stayed in the game at third base and double in the ninth inning against outfielder Lane Thomas, who pitched the ninth for Washington, which dropped the day game 6-3.
Maggi played in 1,154 games in the minors, making 4,494 plate appearances. He was called up last weekend from Altoona when outfielder Bryan Reynolds went on the bereavement list and debuted to a standing ovation when he pinch hit Wednesday night in the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He struck out in his debut, then grounded out, fouled out and flied out in his first start on Thursday.
“My parents got to watch me play a big-league game. My brothers, all my friends," Maggi said. “It's crazy to think that in a week you can kind of change…because obviously I never gave up and I believed always that I could do this. But now that it’s happened it’s solidified that belief.”
Now it's back to Altoona and working to earn a return trip to Pittsburgh.
“I’ve got a lot of friends down there," Maggi said. "It’s going to be cool to do down there and see them, and just continue to grind in the bushes. But it’ll be fun to see them and it’s going to be riot down there with everything that’s happened.”