In Pittsburgh yesterday, Cubs player Javier Báez drew the first baseman into a rundown between home and first, allowing another player to score, and then capitalized on the catcher's error to advance to second:
With Willson Contreras on second, Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Erik González fielded Báez’s grounder and threw to first, but Will Craig caught the ball off the bag. Craig, instead of just trotting back and touching the base, advanced to try to tag Báez — and then Báez’s baserunning savvy kicked in.
As Contreras raced around third, Báez darted back toward the plate in spurts as if playing tag. Craig still hadn’t tagged Báez as Contreras dived toward home, and Craig’s toss to catcher Michael Perez was too late. After signaling Contreras should be safe, Báez then raced back to first. When Perez’s throw to first was off the mark and bounced into short right field, Báez made it to second.
The scoring determination: fielder’s choice, RBI, E2.
Báez said he simply was trying to help Contreras score by keeping Craig close to him so he would chase him. After Báez signaled Contreras safe — a moment that made Ross chuckle when watching the replay — he realized he should get back to first.
Note that all Will Craig had to do was step on first base to end the inning. Apparently he got confused, but only catcher Perez got charged with an error for his wild throw back to first.
The Cubs have won 9 of their last 11 games.