Cody Ross did just that. He saw the opening, and delivered a momentum-changing play that underlined the Marlins' 4-2 comeback victory over the Cubs on Monday night at Wrigley Field.
In the seventh inning, Ross stole home off left-hander Ted Lilly as part of a double steal.
"That was heads-up and paying attention," said Marlins starter Nate Robertson, who collected the win. "That's a big play right there, especially being behind going into that inning."
The Marlins scored three times in the seventh to take control. Ronny Paulino's two-run homer gave Florida the lead. But when Ross was on third and Cameron Maybin was on first, the two executed the double steal that produced an insurance run.
"When he is picking over [at first] and throwing home, you're anticipating a wild throw, or a ball in the dirt that gets away from [the catcher]," said Ross, who had never swiped the plate before in the big leagues. "That's just what you're supposed to do. I was just trying to time him, and I got the timing perfect."
Rolling the dice paid off for the Marlins on a night they were looking to rebound from two straight losses at Washington.
The steal of home was the first by a Marlin since Reggie Abercrombie against the Yankees on June 25, 2006, at Yankee Stadium. It was the ninth time a Marlin has swiped home in franchise history.
With Lilly being a left-hander, Ross was aggressive on third base, because the pitcher's back was to him. Ross had faked going on previous pitches.
Maybin, who has great speed, had Lilly's attention with the left-handed-hitting Coghlan at the plate.
It's unclear if the signal came from the dugout or the play was orchestrated by third-base coach Joe Espada or whether Ross went on his own instincts.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez didn't elaborate on the double steal. Asked if the plan was for Ross to go when Lilly threw over, Gonzalez only replied: "Yes."
When Lilly threw to Derrek Lee at first, Maybin had already broken for second base. Ross, meanwhile, dashed for home, and he slid in ahead of Lee's throw to catcher Geovany Soto.
"That's something you don't usually see," said Robertson. "You've got to be locked in on a play like that. There was probably something in back of Cody's mind, and with Espada. I don't know if that was communicated or not. [Lilly] had shown his move before and it was kind of slow."
When Abercrombie stole home in 2006, it also was part of a double steal.
Abercrombie raced home while Alfredo Amezaga stole second in the fifth inning off the Yankees' Shawn Chacon.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.