Uncharacteristic errors haunt Andrus, Rangers
TORONTO -- Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus spoke softly, with clear anguish, about his two errors as he addressed the media in front of his locker following the Rangers' 6-3 loss to the Blue Jays in Game 5 of the American League Division Series on Wednesday at Rogers Centre.
"I can make those plays 100 percent of the time," Andrus said. "I'm in a lot of pain. I feel like I let down my team and my city. It hurts. You play this game hard, and when that happens, it hurts."
Andrus made two of the three Rangers errors that began the bottom of the seventh inning and ultimately led to Jose Bautista's game-breaking three-run home run. First baseman Mitch Moreland made the other error, and the Rangers' season came to an abrupt end after they were nine outs away from advancing to the AL Championship Series.
The Rangers became the first team in postseason history to make three errors in a single inning of a sudden-death postseason game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Before Andrus' fateful seventh, 41 prior times in the postseason had a player made two errors in one inning, the last being the Brewers' Jerry Hairston Jr. in Game 6 of the 2011 National League Championship Series vs. the Cardinals. The last Ranger to make two errors in an inning during a postseason game was Vladimir Guerrero in Game 1 of the 2010 World Series vs. the Giants.
"It was just weird all the way around," third baseman Adrian Beltre said. "You don't see that from Elvis often. You don't see that from Mitch often. This is one we want to forget."
The Rangers refused to blame the long delay in the top of the inning while the umpires were sorting out the Rangers' go-ahead run scoring on catcher Russell Martin's throw back to the pitcher that hit batter Shin-Soo Choo's hand, which was holding his bat.
"No, I was completely focused on the situation," Andrus said. "Right now, the last thing I want to look for is an excuse. Everybody was ready. We just didn't make the plays. It's something that we'll learn from, we'll deal with it. It's going to be a long offseason for me."
|10/14/15||TOR 6, TEX 3||Andrus, E., TEX||7||2||LDS|
|10/16/11||STL 12, MIL 6||Hairston, J., MIL||5||2||LCS|
|10/27/10||SF 11, TEX 7||Guerrero, V., TEX||8||2||WS|
|10/08/10||PHI 7, CIN 4||Utley, C., PHI||2||2||LDS|
|10/15/08||PHI 5, LA 1||Furcal, R., LA||5||3||LCS|
|10/14/08||TB 13, BOS 4||Longoria, E., TB||2||2||LCS|
The Rangers still had Cole Hamels on the mound going into the seventh when Martin opened the inning with a grounder up the middle. Andrus glided to his left to get the ball, only to fumble it for an error.
"I just took my eyes off the ball too quickly," Andrus said. "I should make the play. It was an easy, routine ground ball."
Kevin Pillar followed with a chopper to Moreland, who tried for the force at second but had trouble getting the ball out of his glove. He bounced his throw to second and Andrus couldn't handle it, allowing both runners to be safe.
"The ball was hit off the bat with a lot of spin," Moreland said. "I just got back on my heels and rushed the throw …never had a good grip on it."
Dalton Pompey pinch-ran for Martin as Ryan Goins went up to bunt. The Rangers were ready, as Goins bunted to Beltre, who went for the force at third. Andrus was covering and dropped Beltre's throw for another error.
"I was trying to make sure I got the out at third base," Andrus said. "It hit off the end of my glove and came out. No excuses."
Only once during the regular season did Andrus commit two errors in a game.
"Don't wish that on anybody," Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. "The game is tough. When you have mistakes like that, it can sting for a long time. So hopefully he's doing all right. I feel for him. Definitely."
Ben Revere followed with a grounder to Moreland, who fired home for the force and the first out. With Josh Donaldson and Bautista coming up, manager Jeff Banister brought in right-hander Sam Dyson. He jammed Donaldson with a fastball, getting a blooper that fluttered out toward second baseman Rougned Odor.
Odor started in, then had to go back quickly. But he didn't get back in time and the ball fell just beyond the infield. Odor retrieved the ball in time to get the force at second, but Pillar scored the tying run.
"Kind of a situation where big swing came off [Donaldson's] bat," Banister said. "I think where he got in trouble is he started backpedaling instead of getting his feet in position to turn sideways and run the ball down."
The Blue Jays were left with runners at the corners and one out. Bautista was ready to make the Rangers pay for their transgressions.
"It's a challenge, it's tough, I feel for them," Banister said. "And look, one inning won't define who this ballclub is and who they've been all year long. Challenging, and I hurt for them. Cole did what he needed to do. We failed to make a couple plays behind him. We talked about it. The team that makes mistakes is going to be in trouble, bottom line."