ARLINGTON, Texas -- It was Elvis Andrus' error in the eighth inning that bothered manager Ron Washington the most after Sunday's late-inning troubles in a 6-4 loss to the Marlins.
With a runner on third and two outs in the eighth and the Rangers hanging on to a 2-1 lead, Hanley Ramirez hit a chopper over reliever Mark Lowe on the mound. Andrus charged the ball, gloved it, but couldn't transfer it to his hand to get the throw to first base in time to end the inning. It was scored an error and the Marlins tied the game. They would add three more runs that inning.
"This is the big leagues," Washington said. "That’s a chance for a major league shortstop to make and he didn’t make the play. There’s no excuses, he didn’t make the play."
It was Andrus' team-high 16th of the season. That matches Andrus' error total for all of last season. He also has more errors than any other regular shortstop in the AL.
Andrus was not immediately available for comment after the game. It was a tough enough play that the scorer reviewed it but kept it an error.
"I thought it was a really tough play," Michael Young said. "Hanley runs well and I know Elvis is playing deep there with two outs. They are trying to take away a hit. The last thing you expect is a chopper over the pitcher. It was a tough play. It's a tough break. We have a lot of confidence that any time a ball is hit to short, Elvis is going to make the play."
The error kept the inning alive. It was an eighth in which the Rangers used four different pitchers and the Marlins scored four runs. Darren Oliver came in with the score tied and surrendered a double to right that scored two runs. Neftali Feliz arrived in a rare appearance in the eighth inning of a game with his team behind by two runs and allowed a single on an 0-2 pitch to Mike Stanton that put the Marlins up 5-2.
Before Andrus' error, Lowe had a chance to end the inning. With runners on the corners, he faked a throw to third and turned to first. Gaby Sanchez was too far off first, but Lowe hesitated and by the time he threw to first, Sanchez was able to slide back to the bag safely.
"Everytime I do that, I tell myself to expect to make a throw because you never know," Lowe said. "I can't tell you the last time I got somebody on that move. It can still catch you off guard no matter what you try to tell yourself. He was just getting his secondary lead. The ball wasn't firmly in my hand good enough to make a throw."
Lowe admitted he was a little surprised to see him there and hesitated.
"I sat back on the mound and said, 'This is the guy that matters at the plate,'" Lowe said. "I still have to make a pitch."
Lowe said he probably couldn't have gotten to the chopper anyway. His normal delivery is to fall off to the first base side of the mound and that ball was more toward the third base side. Either way, the play started things going in the wrong direction late and the Rangers' bullpen couldn't stop it.