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Javy Baez tricks Pirates into disastrous play with brilliant baserunning

What should have been a routine inning-ending forceout eventually turned into two runs for the Cubs.

Pirates first baseman Will Craig, right, tosses the ball to catcher Michael Perez, left, after the Cubs’ Javier Baez (9) hit a fielder’s choice third to first and was caught in a rundown between home and first during the third inning Thursday. Willson Contreras, top center, scores on the play and Báez reached second on an errant throw by Pirates’ catcher Perez.
Pirates first baseman Will Craig, right, tosses the ball to catcher Michael Perez, left, after the Cubs’ Javier Baez (9) hit a fielder’s choice third to first and was caught in a rundown between home and first during the third inning Thursday. Willson Contreras, top center, scores on the play and Báez reached second on an errant throw by Pirates’ catcher Perez.
Gene J. Puskar/AP

Javy Baez found an unusual way to extend an inning Thursday afternoon. What should have been the final out of the third inning for the Cubs in their game against the Pirates turned into a run for the good guys.

With Willson Contreras at second base, Baez grounded to Pirates third baseman Erik Gonzalez. But Pirates first baseman Will Craig, instead of just forcing Baez out by touching first base, began a rundown and chased Baez back to home plate.

During the rundown, Contreras rounded the bases and scored when catcher Michael Perez was late with the tag.

The play became even sillier from the Pirates point of view when Perez’s throw to first went into the outfield, allowing Baez to reach second. He then scored on Ian Happ’s RBI single.

Some of Baez’s teammates clearly enjoyed the sequence quite a lot:

Yet more proof that there’s really nobody else in baseball like Javy Baez.

And the Cubs went on to win 5-3 and sweep the Pirates.