Run on Elly De La Cruz and the Reds at your own peril

Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs — and the hometown fans in the stands — thought the home team was about to tie the visiting Cincinnati Reds in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz had other ideas.

Cincinnati took the field for the bottom of the ninth with a 5-3 lead, and with closer Alexis Diaz on the bump. Pete Crow-Armstrong singled to lead off, then pinch-hitter Michael Busch was walked.

Diaz got Nick Madrigal to hit a grounder to third, and the Reds were able to get the first out of the inning as Busch was forced out at second. But that gave the Cubs runners on the corners for Seiya Suzuki. Suzuki got ahead in the count 2-1, and then ripped a slider down the left-field line that looked like the game-tying double. But Reds left fielder Jacob Hurtubise, and De La Cruz, had other ideas:

On the kind of play your Little League coach dreamed about, Hurtubise and De La Cruz executed the relay throw to perfection to cut down the potential tying run at the plate. Hurtubise hustled over to the line to chase down the double, then made a perfect throw to the shortstop who was in place as the cutoff man.

For his part not only did De La Cruz uncork a 93+ mph throw to the plate, but watch how he executes the throw. The shortstop pivots to get into position for the throw home as the throw from Hurtubise is coming in from left field, shaving off precious seconds on the relay.

Madrigal never had a chance.

Diaz got Cody Bellinger to fly out to right field on the next pitch, and the Reds hung on for the 5-4 win. It was Cincinnati’s fifth win in seven games.

“That’s the game right there,” Reds manager David Bell said after the game. “Hit the cutoff man and when it’s Elly, we want to get him the ball. We know what kind of arm he has. Everybody does.”

Especially now the Cubs.

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