Steal 2nd. Steal 3rd. Steal home (by crawling!)

August 26th, 2020

Jon Berti took matters into his own hands, or actually his own feet, to help the Marlins manufacture an insurance run on Tuesday in Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Mets at Citi Field.

After walking against Jeurys Familia to lead off the sixth inning, Berti pulled off the rare “stolen-base cycle” against catcher Ali Sánchez and New York. The speedster swiped second and third, and then caught the Mets napping on a delayed steal of home.

Berti’s trickery helped the Marlins secure a 3-0 victory over the Mets and a twin-bill sweep.

“The last one there was just a thought that kind of came up in the moment,” Berti said. “I’ve always kind of wanted to do it, or thought of doing something like that, and fortunately it worked out.”

Berti is the first Marlins player to steal three bases in an inning, and the first MLB player to pull off the feat since Mallex Smith did so for the Mariners on May 27, 2019, against the Rangers.

The speedy Berti actually stumbled on his way to the plate, but he still scored standing up.

“I honestly didn’t realize how far I did bear crawl,” Berti said after watching the replay.

With the left-handed-hitting Corey Dickerson at the plate, it created a better opening for Berti to steal third because Mets third baseman J.D. Davis was further away from the bag. Davis was also playing deep behind the third-base bag for right-handed hitter Brian Anderson, who was at the plate for Berti's delayed steal of home.

"Definitely aggressive baserunning,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “One of the things that distinguishes this team that we're playing against, they're aggressive -- almost reckless to a point. That's how they play. But on the other hand, I thought that we weren't heads up. We've always got to be on our toes for that kind of baseball because that's how, as a team, they play on the field."

“The shifting with the lefty puts that third baseman in a lot of trouble,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “They want to shift the lefty, and it was Corey, and then they want to play the third baseman way over in the hole. That’s why delay kind of works there.

“With the delay, nobody usually reacts. If you give him an extra step or two without the third baseman moving, then it becomes a foot race. And obviously, Bert won that race.”

The Marlins actually discussed similar situations like stealing home during their Summer Camp at Marlins Park. First-base coach Billy Hatcher and third-base coach Trey Hillman were in on the discussions.

“Hatch is the guy that caught it,” Mattingly said. “We’ve been talking about this play a little bit since Summer [Camp]. As we shifted guys at different times, we’ve seen it for ourselves. We’ve seen how we were playing defense, and we knew there was an opportunity for some offense on that.”

A change from the past, the Marlins are more aggressive on the bases.

“Donnie and I actually talked about it a little bit in Summer Camp, about that type of situation where the third baseman is pretty far off,” Berti said. “Fortunately, if they’re not paying attention too much, it’s a time to get in there before they can get to the bag.”