Maybe we should have expected Royals outfielder Justin Maxwell to hit a walk-off grand slam on Sunday. He's basically been doing stuff like that his whole career.
By PETE GRATHOFF
The Kansas City Star
Maxwells first major-league hit came in 2007, and it was a pinch-hit grand slam against Marlins left-hander Chris Seddon.
Maxwell also had a pinch-hit walk-off grand slam for the Nationals in September 2009, when they beat the Mets 7-4. That one was also on a 3-2 pitch with two outs, but it came with Washington trailing in the bottom of the ninth.
The following year -- in September again -- Maxwell hit a grand slam that lifted the Nationals to a 4-2 over the Braves.
Last year, Maxwell joined the Astros and his first hit was a pinch-hit home run. Alas, this was just a two-run shot. You may recall that Maxwell also hit a pinch-hit home run shortly after joining the Royals before the trade deadline. That was a game-winner as the Royals topped the Mets 4-3 in New York on Aug. 3.
Nothing may top Sundays walk-off grand slam to beat the Rangers 4-0 in 10 innings.
I spoke with Maxwell last week. Here is that conversation:
QUESTION: You have a penchant for pinch-hit home runs when you join a team. Whats the deal with that?
ANSWER: Im not sure. Maybe its the adrenaline of joining a new team. It makes a good story and Ill tell my kids about it when they understand everything thats going on.
QUESTION: Do you feel like youre starting to settle in here with the team?
ANSWER: Yeah. The guys here are great. I just thank God for this opportunity. Some players are fortunate to have a chance at the playoffs and Im just grateful for this opportunity and I thank God for it everyday. Im just excited for the final week and see where we end up and hopefully make a bid for the World Series.
QUESTION: Youre signed for next season, right?
ANSWER: Im under team control the next three years.
QUESTION: Youve played for few teams previously, but do you feel like you want to stay here?
ANSWER: Oh yeah. Everything here is great. Pitching is amazing, coaches are great, ballpark is awesome, fans are incredible. Ive never played in a place that had tailgating before a ballgame, so I think thats pretty neat.
QUESTION: Whats it like to go from Houston, which is obviously rebuilding, to the Royals, who are pushing for the playoffs?
ANSWER: Its energizing. The energy here with the guys on an everyday basis is something Ive never experienced before. Its great. Im happy to be a part of it. Here, we come to the field and know what were playing for and playing for one another. In Houston, we were learning, we were developing players. Here, were trying to get to the playoffs and win, so I think its been awesome.
To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/pgrathoff