CHICAGO – Cubs fans have grown used to seeing wizardry on the base trails in recent years, but plenty of tricks were wrapped up and brought to New York when Javier Báez was traded for the Mets.
Ian Happ found his inner El Mago on Wednesday evening.
To round off a five-run breakout in the second inning, Happ shot for second base while Rafael Ortega was on third. When Happ approached the bag and the Rockies’ second baseman Brendan Rodgers received the throw from catcher Elias Díaz, the Cubs outfielder paused.
After Happ was out of reach, Rodgers took a few steps forward and turned his attention to Ortega, who was rushing home as soon as the ball left Díaz’s hand. That move from Rodgers gave Happ a trail and he ran fast and safely dived into second place to avoid the tag attempt.
In the boys’ dugout, a smiling Willson Contreras was jumping up and down with joy, arms raised high.
Colorado starter Germán Márquez followed with a strikeout from Patrick Wisdom to end the inning, but Happ and Ortega’s double steal put the Cubs 5-2 ahead in the 7-inning nightcap of a split double-headed.
Ortega became the first Cubs player to double steal home since Billy Hamilton did so against the White Sox on September 27 last year. Previously, Alfonso Soriano was the previous cub to wipe home against Washington (as part of a double theft) on August 22, 2008.
Of course, Javier Báez was the last Cubs player to score a direct home win against the Tigers on July 4, 2018. Báez actually did this feat twice in ’18. He also had a direct home theft against the Mets on June 3 that season.