Guess who scored on a sac fly to 2B?

March 13th, 2021

By now, nothing does on the basepaths should qualify as a surprise. But even by his standards, the run he scored in the first inning of the Padres' 6-3 loss to Arizona on Saturday was electric.

Tatis put his elite wheels on full display, going from first-to-third on a groundout before scoring on a sacrifice fly ball to D-backs second baseman Josh VanMeter.

With Tatis on first base following a leadoff single, Padres second baseman Jake Cronenworth bounced one back up the middle off D-backs right-hander Josh Green. The ball caromed toward VanMeter at second, and he made an excellent play to nab Cronenworth. But by the time first baseman Christian Walker had the ball in his glove, Tatis was already flying toward third base. Walker had no play.

Three pitches later, Manny Machado lofted a high pop in the infield. With the D-backs playing in the shift, it was VanMeter who drifted back as the wind carried the ball to shallow left-center. VanMeter caught the ball flat-footed.

Not a good idea with Tatis on third base. The Padres' shortstop phenom broke for home immediately and slid safely under the tag of catcher Stephen Vogt, tying the game at 1.

“As soon as he saw him catch it on his back foot, he was gone,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. “What more can you say, except – it’s just a baseball-instinct play, then you top it off with top speed. It’s pretty impressive.”

Tatis had only returned on Friday after missing six days because of a (non-COVID) bug. Tingler noted that the Padres will ease Tatis back into game action, and said that chilly temperatures on Saturday necessitated Tatis’ removal after just two at-bats as a precaution.

Still, upon his return, Tatis has wasted no time offering a reminder of his five elite tools.

Sometimes -- like he did on Friday afternoon against the A’s -- Tatis destroys baseballs and gets to jog around the bases.

And sometimes -- like he did on Saturday -- he makes things a bit more interesting on the basepaths.