Chicago — James McCann has stolen two bases in 386 big-league games. He’d attempted to steal just three times before Friday night.
So what in the world was he doing trying to steal home?
He was playing the brand of baseball manager Ron Gardenhire has preached from Day One — be aggressive, force the issue, make other teams execute plays.
“Even though I was out, at the end of the day, they still had to make a good throw and a good catch at second base,” McCann said. “And then make the transfer, and make another good throw and catch at the plate — which they did. But if you put enough pressure on a team, eventually they will give in.
“That’s what this team (the Tigers) has been doing all season long.”
There were two outs in the fourth inning and the Tigers were leading 3-0. McCann, who had three hits, was on third after a single by Leonys Martin. Jeimer Candelario was batting and he got two quick strikes against him.
Manager Ron Gardenhire flashed the steal sign — for Martin, not McCann.
“He wasn’t supposed to go,” Gardenhire said. “We knew we could steal second there. And Dave (Clark, third base coach) told (McCann), ‘You are staying.’ But sometimes your heart says, I can do this.”
Martin broke for second and drew the throw from White Sox catcher Omar Narvaez. McCann broke for home. Shortstop Tim Anderson caught Narvaez’ throw with his momentum coming toward home plate and threw McCann out by several feet.
“I probably took too long to decide to go home,” McCann said. “I saw the throw too long. It was a mistake on my part. Leo had the base stolen, just let Candy try to come up with a two-out hit. But my thought process was, Candy is down 0-2. If they try to throw Leo out, I am going to try to steal a run right here.
“It didn’t work, but I know what I have to do to make it work.”
Gardenhire was not thrilled with the communication or the execution of the play, but he loved the aggressiveness of it.
“The third baseman was playing way off the line,” Gardenhire said. “If Mac is going to do that, he’s got to get way down the line. He wasn’t. But if he was way down the line (with his secondary lead), I guarantee he scores.”