video thumbnail

TEX@TOR: Andrus misplays a grounder in the seventh

TORONTO -- Ron Washington called it a clunker, plain and simple.

Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus doesn't make many of them. He had played 54 consecutive games entering Tuesday night without making an error.

Then in the seventh inning, it happened. He mishandled a ground ball from Eric Thames for an error to lead off the frame.

The Blue Jays, aided by some poor decisions by the Rangers, scored three unearned runs in that seventh inning, eventually winning, 8-7, on Brett Lawrie's walk-off homer in the ninth before 18,774 at Rogers Centre.

But the key to the game was the seventh, when the Blue Jays scored three runs against Robbie Ross and Alexi Ogando.

It started with a rare error by Andrus.

"It's a clunker," Washington said. "I think anybody that's ever been out there has had that happen to them. It's just a clunker. He backhanded the ball, and he just didn't find it properly in his glove and it fell out. It happens."

The Rangers tied it in the ninth on a two-out single by Michael Young, who ended a 0-for-8 drought hitting with runners in scoring position, only to have Lawrie lead off the home half of the inning with a home run against right-hander Mike Adams (0-1).

"I was just locked in," Lawrie said "I just tried to help my guys out and help the team. Those are ones you get pumped up for and ready to go."

The game-winning homer bounced off the top of the fence in left-center, the second long ball the Blue Jays smashed that hit the fence and went over.

"It was a cutter, slider, whatever you want to call it," Adams said. "It caught too much of the plate. I knew he hit it well. I didn't know whether it was out or not. I thought it might be going off the wall, but obviously it hit off the top of the wall. He did his job."

"Any loss is difficult to take, whether they got a base hit up the middle and the run scored or it left the ballpark and the run scored. The thing is they beat us," Washington said. "Yeah, we may helped them a little, but they beat us. We got back in the ballgame, and Lawrie deserves some credit. He hit the ball out of the ballpark. Mike Adams has been flawless. That's why I say there's no perfection in this game. But I'm not going to cry, we'll bounce back tomorrow."

The Rangers built a 5-0 lead in the second, keyed by Ian Kinsler's two-run double against Toronto's 21-year-old starter Drew Hutchison. But it began to melt away in the third on two walks and a three-run homer that hit the top of the wall by Kelly Johnson and a long solo blast by Jose Bautista against Neftali Feliz.

The Rangers added an unearned run against Hutchison in the fourth. Making his third Major League start, Hutchison persevered through six innings.

Feliz allowed four runs on a career-high six walks and four hits in five-plus innings for a no-decision. It was the first start for Feliz since April 21, when he pitched an eight-inning complete game in a loss to Detroit. He had a one-inning relief appearance on April 25 before Tuesday's start.

He took a 6-4 lead into the sixth on Tuesday, helped by three double plays in the first five innings, but he walked Johnson and Bautista to start the frame. Ross took over for Feliz to face Adam Lind, who grounded into a double play -- the fourth turned by Texas in the game. Ross finished the inning by inducing a groundout from Edwin Encarnacion, who entered the game with homers in four consecutive games.

"It's growing," Washington said of the 23-year-old Feliz. "He's got to grow. He'll grow into it. The main thing is he just couldn't get the ball down. He elevated it."

But it still might have been a win for the former closer if it had not been for a series of defensive misplays in the seventh.

"We just didn't execute defensively, that's all," Washington said. "It's the first time we haven't executed defensively. They took advantage of it."

After the error by Andrus, Lawrie grounded a single to left and catcher Mike Napoli had trouble fielding a Colby Rasmus bunt in time and the bases were loaded with none out.

"I booted that," Napoli said. "My first thought was going to third. I booted it. I didn't make the play."

Then Ogando induced two ground balls for outs, but they also allowed two runs to score, the second of which tied the game at 6. On the first out, third baseman Alberto Gonzalez tried unsuccessfully to start a double play when he should have gone home.

"Right there, the ball hit hard, you go for the double play," Washington said. "The ball chopped, you go to home plate. He just made the wrong decision."

Johnson singled in the go-ahead run for a 7-6 Toronto lead.

Napoli was replaced in the ninth after he experienced some vision problems in his right eye in the eighth inning. After the game, Napoli said it had cleared up, but he was going to have it checked on Wednesday morning. He said it had no effect on his play in the seventh.

"It went away," he said. "Everything's fine now. It just happened in the eighth inning."

MLB.com Comments