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Javy steals 2nd, then runs all the way home

@MLBastian
September 16, 2020

CHICAGO -- Cubs shortstop Javier Báez is always looking for an opening to do something dynamic on the basepaths. Cleveland gave him just the window of opportunity he needed for his latest highlight-reel dash on Tuesday night. In the eighth inning of the Cubs' 6-5 win over the Tribe, Báez

CHICAGO -- Cubs shortstop Javier Báez is always looking for an opening to do something dynamic on the basepaths. Cleveland gave him just the window of opportunity he needed for his latest highlight-reel dash on Tuesday night.

In the eighth inning of the Cubs' 6-5 win over the Tribe, Báez took off for second base on a steal attempt with Jason Heyward batting. Cleveland catcher Sandy Leon snapped off a throw, but sent the baseball sailing wildly into center field.

Box score

"I wasn't thinking to score from first," Báez said. "But after the ball went in the outfield, it was time to improvise."

After the ball skipped beyond the reach of shortstop Francisco Lindor, Báez scrambled around second. Third-base coach Will Venable waved Báez home, and the Cubs' shortstop never broke stride.

By the time Cleveland relayed the ball to the plate, Báez was sliding in safely. After scoring, he rested in the dirt on his back for a moment to catch his breath.

"I was running really hard, so I couldn't stop," Báez said. "I like to run hard around the base, and once I'm around there, I can pick up where the ball is. And I saw it right there, so I just kept going."

The run gave the Cubs a 5-3 lead, which proved critical when Lindor belted a game-tying homer in the ninth inning. Chicago finished off the win in the home half of the ninth, when Cameron Maybin was hit by a pitch by Tribe reliever Nick Wittgren with the bases loaded.

Báez's sprint came two days after the shortstop scored from second base on a sacrifice fly with some quick thinking against the Brewers.

"When Javy gets on, he can definitely cause chaos," Cubs manager David Ross said. "That was a nice run to add -- that really was. We needed that, obviously, that extra run's huge."

Jordan Bastian covers the Cubs for MLB.com. He previously covered the Indians from 2011-18 and the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.