WATCH: Javier Báez combines with inept Pirates for one of the most baffling base-running plays in MLB history


Thursday afternoon at PNC Park, the Pittsburgh Pirates are wrapping up their three-game series with the NL Central rival Chicago Cubs (GameTracker). The Cubs won the first two games and are going for the sweep Thursday.

Chicago’s chances of a sweep went up in the third inning thanks to Javier Báez’s base-running brilliance, and also stunning (and hilarious) incompetence by the Pirates. Look at this play. Just look at it:

To recap, Báez turned a ground ball to third base into, essentially, an RBI double, despite running all the way back to home plate (?!?) at one point. Amazing. The play was ruled a fielder’s choice and a throwing error was charged to Pirates catcher Michael Perez. Willson Contreras scored from second base on the play.

I have to say though, that play is more about Pittsburgh screwing up than Báez doing something amazing. There were two outs! All first baseman Will Craig has to do is step on the bag and the inning is over. It’s a force play, so the run wouldn’t have counted. Instead, Craig tried to chase down Báez for some reason, and things snowballed from there.

Báez has off-the-charts awareness and base-running savvy. Combine that with the Pirates defense and, well, you get a Little League play. Craig had to forget the number of outs, right? There’s no explanation for doing anything other than stepping on the bag there.

In related news, the Pirates have lost five straight games and 18 of their last 24 games.

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