How did this happen? An incredible play by Javier Báez leads the Cubs to victory

PITTSBURGH – Javier Báez backtracked and chaos ensued, as often happens every time the / chc / chicago-cubs shortstop is on the bases.

The quick-thinking star’s latest witchcraft led to a comedy of errors by the reeling Pittsburgh Pirates, notching a two-run rally in a 5-3 win on Thursday.

“ He just makes crazy things happen, ” Chicago manager David Ross said. “ He runs at times and guys forget how to play baseball sometimes. ”

Pirates first baseman Will Craig certainly did.

With teammate Willson Contreras on second and two outs in the third inning, Baez hit a routine groundout to third baseman Erik Gonzalez. Gonzalez’s shot at Craig at first went a little higher, knocking Craig out of the bag. It is no problem. All Craig had to do was tap Baez or tap the pad. The entrance must have ended.

But it did not happen that way. What followed was 40 seconds of insane that will likely follow Baez and Craig no matter where their careers take them.

Baez slammed on the brakes to avoid Craig’s glove and started backing toward home plate. Interestingly, Craig decided to follow Báez.

The move gave Contreras enough time to circle the anteroom and run to home plate. Craig tossed the ball to catcher Michael Perez, but Contreras slipped below catcher’s mark as Baez ran off to first start. Perez’s shot to first base collided with second baseman Adam Frazier’s glove trying to cover the pad, allowing Baez to run to second base.

At any time, if the ball reaches first before Baez, the out is recorded, the run does not count and life continues. But it didn’t, encapsulating a season that is quickly slipping away for the Pirates.

“ We have to make sure we make the force out, ” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. That’s where it is. I mean, if Baez runs all the way back or runs into his dugout or runs into the Business District, we can walk down to initial and touch base. ”

Báez ended up scoring moments later on a single by Ian Happ to give the Cubs a three-run lead they would not give up, adding another chapter to his burgeoning resume as one of the most exciting – and occasionally erratic – players in baseball at the time. game in the process.

“ I turned to the bench and everyone was celebrating like I had hit a double, ” Baez said. “ It’s just great. ”

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