PITTSBURGH -- The Padres are sure making a habit out of stealing home this season.For the second time this month, Travis Jankowski took an opportunistic break from third base and swiped home in Wednesday's 4-0 win over the Pirates. This time, Jankowski took advantage of Pirates battery Antonio Bastardo and
PITTSBURGH -- The Padres are sure making a habit out of stealing home this season.
For the second time this month, Travis Jankowski took an opportunistic break from third base and swiped home in Wednesday's 4-0 win over the Pirates. This time, Jankowski took advantage of Pirates battery Antonio Bastardo and Eric Fryer in the top of the eighth. It marked San Diego's fourth steal of home this season.
Jankowski broke for home when Fryer tossed the ball lazily back to Bastardo. With the speedy center fielder bearing down on the plate, Bastardo then rushed his return throw to the plate and fired errantly to the backstop.
"It's do-or-die," Jankowski said. "You can either be a hero or a zero. Luckily, it worked out that time."
Jankowski slid across the dish safely, as Fryer attempted to tag him with an empty glove. For a brief moment it appeared as though Jankowski was dead to rights, but Fryer simply couldn't handle the low throw. It was around that time when Jankowski began to worry that he might end up being the proverbial "zero."
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"Oh boy, I just messed up," Jankowski said when asked what was going through his mind about 20 feet from home plate. "But I want to be aggressive and try to make plays on the baseball field. That's my mentality, and I guess I got lucky this time."
As spontaneous as the play seemed, Jankowski and third-base coach Glenn Hoffman actually put plenty of thought into it. With two outs and a tough left-on-left matchup at the plate, Jankowski said he knew it was the time to be optimistic on the basepaths.
On Aug. 1, Jankowski recorded his first steal of home -- but that wasn't ruled as such until a day later. In that case, he broke for the plate after Wil Myers had gotten himself hung up in a rundown between first and second. Initially the play was ruled a fielder's choice, but a scoring change credited Jankowski with a steal.
Jankowski says the two steals of home are a personal record. In fact, he only ever recalls one prior straight steal of home in his life, coming in high school.
"This year, having two -- that's a new record for me," Jankowski quipped.
One day prior to Jankowski's first steal, Myers had swiped home himself -- a similar play to what unfolded at PNC Park on Wednesday. Myers caught Reds starter Homer Bailey with his back to the plate, and dashed home before Bailey could process what was happening.
Melvin Upton Jr. got the party started for the Padres back on June 3 when he recorded a straight steal of the plate against Colorado. This edition of the Friars is the first club in franchise history to have stolen home four times since the 1999 team did so -- namely, Damian Jackson, Gary Matthews, Eric Owens, Ruben Rivera and Quilvio Veras.
"We steal a lot of bases -- not always home -- but we take what's there for us," said Padres manager Andy Green. "That was probably more of a gamble than any time we've taken home this year. It worked out, because Travis has the ability to create anxiety in other people."
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.