<
>

Aggressive call pays off for Cubs

Alfonso Soriano scores the game-winning run on a throwing error by Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki. Joy R. Absalon/USA TODAY Sports

WASHINGTON -- With the game tied and runners on first and second in the ninth inning, Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum was aggressive in calling a double steal to try and take the lead against the Washington Nationals.

After lead runner Alfonso Soriano broke for third, batter Welington Castillo froze to not interfere with catcher Kurt Suzuki. Nonetheless, Suzuki's throw tipped off Castillo's bat and sailed into left field, allowing Soriano to score the go-ahead run and the Cubs held on for the 2-1 victory. It was one of those days where things just seemed to fall in the Cubs' favor.

"I just stand there and I feel the ball hitting my bat," Castillo said. "The ball [flew] into the outfield. I didn't move because if I move then it's interference. I don't know what happened."

Soriano said he was just focusing on safely stealing third base and didn't know the ball hit Castillo's bat. However, once the ball went past third base, Soriano did not hesitate to break for home.

"When I see the ball, I was surprised because Suzuki is a great catcher," Soriano said. "I wanted to make sure I was safe at third. It was a good play for us."

Sveum initially thought the ball hit Castillo's helmet, but was later told the ball actually grazed the bat. Sveum said Castillo did what he was supposed to do under the rules in not giving Suzuki a clear path to third. Suzuki was charged with the error.

"That's what you have to do, make the catcher get around you," Sveum said. "It sounded like the helmet from the dugout."