PHILADELHIA -- Matt Stairs' first hit of the season Wednesday night also was the 100th in his career as a pinch-hitter. And that, he said, is the secret of the success that made the 43-year-old wonder the active leader in that specialty and moved him into a tie with Rusty Staub for 18th on the all-time list.
"In 100 pinch-hits, there are a lot of oh-fers," he said after delivering a single in the ninth off Phillies reliever Danys Baez in the Nationals' 7-4 loss. "If it doesn't happen one night, you have to come back the next day.
"I have done a pretty good job through my career of not letting 0-for-12, 0-for-13 put me down. I knew I was stuck on 99 -- wasn't making a big deal out of it. I didn't even make contact the last four at-bats. It will be good to come to the park knowing I have an average.
"I love it, I'm not going to complain about pinch-hitting. I could pinch-hit every game. The situation where you can be the hero or the gopher, I like being in that situation."
And what did the nice round No. 100 mean to him?
"Means I'm old," said Stairs. "I tip my hat to the guys in front of me."