In the blink of an eye, San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. made a break for home plate and ended up stealing it during Wednesday's 5-2 win against the Baltimore Orioles. Padres manager Bob Melvin was so impressed by Tatis' speed that he compared the star to a "witch."
"I kid with him that he's a witch, and he rides his broom around the bases," Padres manager Bob Melvin said. "That's pretty much exactly what happened there. It's like: When he takes off, everybody just gets nervous."
With Padres slugger Juan Soto batting, Tatis made a mad dash for home plate, and the Orioles couldn't even muster an attempt to throw him out. Orioles left-hander Cionel Perez didn't get a chance to throw the ball toward home plate, which speaks to Tatis' blinding speed.
"I was trying not to call attention from the beginning with a small lead," Tatis said. "Their third baseman was a little bit far. So as soon as I saw [Pérez] got engaged and started setting, I just took my first four steps. I was looking at him all the way. I saw he was still looking down.
"And when he saw me, I was already past home."
It marked the ninth consecutive successful steal of home plate in Padres history. Tatis' stealing of home plate was the first since Travis Jankowski accomplished the feat back in August 2016.
Tatis only stole home plate on one other occasion throughout his career as he did so while playing for High-A Fort Wayne.
Tatis had gotten on base with a two-out single in the seventh inning. Later in the frame, the Padres star broke for second base and Perez's pickoff throw got away. That allowed Tatis to make it to third base and set up his stealing of home plate.
"I saw him creeping, creeping, and then he just took off," Orioles first baseman Ryan Mountcastle said. "I think, by that time, Cionel was already coming set, and just the timing was perfect."
It's the latest in a string for strong performances for Tatis. After enduring a slump earlier this month, Tatis is hitting 12-for-25 over his last six games, including going 3-for-4 with a pair of runs in Wednesday's key win.