Shin-Soo Choo can’t be faulted for his honesty late Wednesday night at O.co Coliseum. His tact was a tad off, though.
The Texas Rangers’ right fielder knew his eighth-inning throw over the cutoff man to third base was a key play that ended up fueling the Oakland A’s rally from a two-run deficit and into an eventual 5-4 walk-off victory.
“When you play baseball a lot of situations are coming,” he said. “We’re not playing for the first time. We know the situations. We can’t make it all the time. ... If I throw him out, nobody says anything.”
He also wasn’t comfortable — in fact, he was angry — with the assertion that his throw cost the Rangers the game.
“[Forget] that,” Choo said.
It didn’t. A series of blunders, many of them mental, cost the Rangers.
Oakland rallied from a 4-2 hole with two runs in a sloppy eighth and won it on a fielder’s choice in the ninth. The Rangers, though, made costly mistakes beginning as early as the first moments of the game.
“It wasn’t the cleanest of games,” manager Jeff Banister said. “At this level in this game, you make mistakes and other teams will make you pay.”
The blunders spoiled a 10-strikeout game by Yovani Gallardo and a two-RBI game from Mitch Moreland.
“That’s the way this game goes,” Gallardo said.
Here’s a look at the mistakes:
▪ Delino DeShields picked off at first base by Jesse Hahn, a right-hander, in the first inning for the first out.
▪ Adam Rosales’ inability to turn a first-inning double play, which helped push Gallardo’s pitch count to 30.
▪ DeShields thrown out trying to steal third in the fourth for the second out and Prince Fielder, the league’s top hitter, at the plate.
Choo was trailing and went to second. After Fielder was hit by a Jesse Hahn pitch, Moreland singled in Choo, but the Rangers should have had two runs.
“We want to allow Prince to swing the bat,” Banister said. “That’s a mental mistake on our part.”
▪ A failure to bring home Leonys Martin from third with one out in the eighth. Robinson Chirinos struck out, and DeShields popped out. Martin had been doubled off second base in the fifth inning on a flyball to left field.
“We did miss an opportunity for an add-on run there,” Banister said.
▪ Choo missing the cutoff man as Josh Reddick raced to third when an accurate throw to the cutoff man keeps runners at the corners. Instead, Ben Zobrist went to second as the throw sailed through, and Reddick scored and Zobrist went to third as Joey Gallo compounded the Choo throw with a wild throw to second to get Zobrist.
Zobrist would score two batters later on a Billy Butler single that tied the game.
“It’s a ball we should try to hit the cutoff man,” Banister said. “He’s not trying to miss the cutoff man. Those things do happen. It put us in a spot that’s tough to battle out of.”
Said Choo: “Skip told me ‘What do you think about this situation?’ I know the situation, but you can’t make it all the time.”
The Rangers’ offense had only one hit after the fourth inning, a Martin double in the eighth, and Keone Kela (4-3) didn’t pitch badly in the ninth. A stolen base by Sam Fuld and an infield single by speedster Billy Burns set up Reddick, whose grounder was stabbed by a diving Rosales at second base but the throw home was too late.
“I’m satisfied with my outing,” Kela said. “I just got beat.”
The Rangers beat themselves throughout a sloppy game.
“It’s hard to overcome multiple mistakes,” Banister said.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760