Cubs shortstop Javier Báez displayed pure intelligence in one of baseball’s best – and funniest – recent plays.
During the Cubs-Pirates game on Thursday afternoon, Báez hit a routine ground ball that looked to be an out. Instead, it kick-started a wild base-running scheme that gave the Cubs a lead and left the Pirates looking clueless.
With two outs and a runner on second in the top of the third inning, Báez’s ground ball was scooped up at third base. With Pirates first baseman Will Craig focused on tagging him out at first – not simply stepping on the bag – the Pirates completely missed Wilson Contreras breaking toward home for a run.
Craig flipped the ball to catcher Michael Perez, who not only couldn’t get the tag, but had no one to throw to as Baez sprinted to first. Second baseman Adam Frazier desperately attempted to cover, but Perez’s throw rolled into the outfield. Baez ended up at second.
On the Cubs’ Marquee broadcast, TV voices Jon Sciambi and Jim Deshaies couldn’t believe their eyes, trading yells of pure excitement.
“Oh my goodness.”
“You have got to be kidding me.”
“That is unbelievable.”
“That is incredible.”
The marvelous sequence was officially scored as Baez reaching on a fielder’s choice and advancing on an error assigned to Perez.
It wasn’t exactly over, though. Cubs outfielder Ian Happ’s single to center scored Báez, resulting in a 3-0 Cubs lead.
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