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Chicago Cubs superstar Javy Báez has a handful of highlight-reel plays on his resume, but his latest play as a baserunner in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday afternoon may very well be at the top of that list.
In the top of the third inning with Willson Contreras on second base, Báez hit a routine ground ball to third baseman Erik González in what should have been an inning-ending play. However, the throw forced Pirates first baseman Will Craig off the base and he tried to tag Báez, who decided to run back toward home plate.
Instead of just stepping on first to end the inning, Craig chased Báez and it allowed Contreras to round the bases and he slid into home safely. Catcher Michael Pérez retrieved the ball from Craig and threw it to first to try and get Báez out, but it sailed over second baseman Adam Frazier, who was attempting to cover the bag, and Báez reached second on the error.
Ian Happ hit a single a few moments later, scoring Báez to give the Cubs a three-run lead.
Kris Bryant added his 11th home run, and Patrick Wisdom hit his first homer since 2018 to give the Cubs a 5-3 victory over the Pirates. Chicago won eight of nine games.
Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks improved to 5-4 on the season. He allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings with five strikeouts and no walks. Ryan Tepera worked 1 1/3 innings for his first save in three years.
Pittsburgh loaded the bases in the eighth but couldn’t pull even and lost for the ninth time in 10 games. The Pirates are 6-20 since scratching above .500 at 12-11 a month ago.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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