Journeyman becomes Marlins' walkoff artist
With two walkoff hits this week, journeyman Donnie Murphy of the Florida Marlins has learned how to take a celebratory shaving-cream pie in the face.
His advice: Keep your mouth and eyes closed.
''The first time, I couldn't get the taste out of my mouth for at least a couple of hours,'' Murphy said Saturday. ''It was the nastiest feeling ever. When you get it in your eyes it stings, your nostrils actually burn, and it takes forever to clean out. But it's definitely a good time.''
Shaving-cream pies for late-game heroics are a Marlins' tradition, and Murphy has been the primary target this week. A career .195 hitter who has spent parts of five seasons in the majors, Murphy earned the Three Stooges treatment when he hit a two-out, two-run pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning Monday to beat Colorado 9-8.
The reserve infielder came through again Friday, when his pinch-hit RBI single with two out in the ninth beat Atlanta 7-6. It was the third walkoff win this week for the Marlins, and the fifth one-run victory on their homestand.
The improbable catalyst in the surge is Murphy, who began the week with 45 career RBIs. The home run was his first in more than two years.
A 27-year-old infielder, Murphy spent most of this season with Triple-A New Orleans, where he played for new Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez. After Rodriguez took over the Marlins on June 23, he put in a good word for Murphy.
''In a close situations, he was the guy I would like to see at the plate,'' Rodriguez said. ''I mentioned to the front office that he would help us here. I knew he would give us good at-bats and a chance to get some punch out of the bench.''
Murphy was selected from the minors July 3. With his latest game-winner, he's 3 for 9 for Florida and enjoying his burst of notoriety.
''It's definitely fun,'' he said. ''I like to turn on the TV and see myself. And I'm hearing from people I haven't talked to in years.''
One example: Murphy played in a slow-pitch softball league in Southern California during the offseason six or seven years ago, and a former teammate texted him congratulations on his recent big hits. The name didn't immediately ring a bell.
''I had to text him back, `Who is this?''' Murphy said. ''It was good to hear from him again, once I figured out who it was.''
And how many walkoff hits did Murphy have for the softball team?
''Probably none,'' Murphy said, ''because I think we killed everybody.''