Few players can make the act of applying a tag as exciting as Javier Báez. And few moments were as key as the one Baez found himself in on Saturday at Wrigley Field, when he made a stupendous no-look tag to erase the would-be tying run on a stolen-base attempt at second base in the ninth.
With the Cubs up by one run and one out, Baez fielded catcher Victor Caratini's wide throw just as San Diego's Wil Myers was diving headfirst into second base. Without turning his head, Baez swiped his glove behind him and tagged Myers' left foot the instant before his outstretched hand reached the bag.
Myers was called out on the bang-bang play, and the Padres challenged and the call was confirmed for the inning's second out. Craig Kimbrel closed out Chicago's 6-5 win two batters later. Baez also delivered the big offensive blow in the game on his go-ahead three-run homer in the fourth.
"I've practiced it before," Baez said. "I work on my tags inside with the machines. ... I practice the throws when they're coming in and if it's a bad throw, where I should get out and where the runner's coming in his lane."