Xavier Nady’s sore groin is not stopping him from going all-out when the Pirates need a big play.
Friday night, Nady turned in two top-notch defensive efforts in right field and hustled for an extra-base hit to help the Pirates slip past the Braves, 3-2. The injury slowed Nady early last week, but hasn’t kept him off the field.
“I feel good, a lot better than the past few days,” Nady said.
With one out and Brian McCann at second base, Jeff Francoeur hit a sinking fly ball to shallow right. Nady came in at a full sprint and made a backhanded catch inches above the grass. Nady threw to second and nearly doubled off McCann.
“It’s one of those plays where you hope you’ve gotten a good jump and it’s borderline whether you might have to dive or slide,” Nady said. “The backhand is never your preference for catching it, but fortunately the ball stuck in (the mitt).”
An inning later, Nady crashed into the low fence in foul territory while chasing a pop-up. Nady teetered on the fence, nearly toppling over it, then regained his balance and leaned back onto his feet.
“I didn’t anticipate hitting that wall,” Nady said. “It’s the perfect height that if you hit it, it takes you over. Fortunately, I’m all right.”
With the Braves leading 1-0 in the seventh, Nady ripped a 1-1 pitch from Tom Glavine into the gap in left-center field.
For a moment, it appeared the ball would roll to the North Side Notch — an easy double, maybe more. But center fielder Mark Kotsay quickly tracked it down, spun and fired to second base.
“I played with him for a year (2003 in San Diego), so I knew he was going to make a play on it,” Nady said. “He’s got a good arm, so I was taking a little chance there. It worked.”
Nady kicked it into high gear and slid in safely ahead of the tag. He scored on Freddy Sanchez’s two-out, two-run double.