This crafty steal of home ALMOST worked

April 29th, 2019

PHOENIX -- With the Cubs and D-backs tied at 3 in the 13th inning on Sunday at Chase Field, tried a play most commonly seen in the Little League ranks ... and it didn't work out for Chicago.

Contreras motored around the bases, but his attempt to take it one base further -- on a delayed steal of home with two outs -- came up short.

Inches short. It was a bang-bang play at home plate for the third out in a game where every play -- and mistake -- mattered.

In the eventful sequence, Contreras was hit by a pitch from D-backs reliever Jon Duplantier with one out. He stole second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch. With a 1-2 count and Ben Zobrist at the plate, Contreras charged home on a delayed steal once catcher Carson Kelly threw the ball back to Duplantier.

“I had a good lead on third base and the catcher made a soft throw to the pitcher and I thought I could make it,” Contreras said. “It was a decision I made.”

Duplantier, making his second big league appearance, tossed the ball back to Kelly to get the out in a close play.

“I just saw him out of the corner of my eye,” Duplantier said. “Shoot, it just kind of like happened. I was just fortunate that Carson was looking. I saw him, I caught the ball and was like, yeah, I got time to go to the plate, and it ended up being a good little momentum swing for us.”

Cubs manager Joe Maddon didn't have any regrets, either.

“He was watching Zo’s at-bat and he really took a shot,” Maddon said. “I really try not to restrict them if they see something. The pitcher calmly caught it and made nice throw back to the catcher. We were trying to make something happen at that point because nothing was.”

It was quite a day for Contreras. He also hit his seventh home run of the season in the fourth inning.