CHICAGO – Adam Eaton was less than thrilled before finally addressing his gaffe late in Tuesday night’s blowout defeat. He gambled on taking an extra base in the ninth inning even though his team was down 11 runs.
In the grand scheme of things, the run Eaton potentially carried was not a game-changer, but to manager Robin Ventura, what was important was to play the game the right way until the last out.
The situation dictated that there was no reason to gamble on an extra base, and when Eaton returned to the dugout after he was thrown out, Ventura said something to his leadoff man. After Tuesday’s game, Ventura said, “I couldn't tell you what was going on in his mind.”
Eaton was not available for comment after Tuesday’s game and when asked about it Wednesday, he blew off the question by saying he was focused on today instead.
He was asked about it two more times, though, before giving a terse answer.
“You guys, I get that I made a bad play,” Eaton said. “Why are we going to shine a light on that when we were down how many runs at that point? I’m trying to make something happen. I saw how the play was coming about. I saw him kind of back hand it and kind of slow down. I was trying to make something happen.”
A’s center fielder Sam Fuld easily threw out Eaton at second base. Two outs later, the A's had a 17-6 victory. The baserunning rule when teams are trailing late in games is to advance only when the extra base can be had with ease.
“I don’t understand why we are focusing on that,” Eaton said. “I get it’s a story for you guys, but why?”
Ventura addressed the play more in depth Wednesday than the limited answers he gave Tuesday.
“It's not the end of the world, but it's not the smartest play, either,” Ventura said. “Part of it is just admitting that it wasn't a smart play. He knows that now; he knew it right when he did it.
“You're not [running] there, especially because he's not going to be tying up the game anytime soon. You're saving outs. I think part of his thing is his aggressiveness and the way he plays. Sometimes he gets out in front of what's a smart play and right there, that wasn't a smart play.”
Ventura said he was confident that Eaton wasn’t intentionally getting thrown out because he was trying to help put an end to the blowout defeat. Ventura instead compared the play to last season when Eaton crashed into the wall and hurt his back, even though the ball was five rows deep into the seats.
Told he was being asked about the play Wednesday because his manager was not happy about it Tuesday, Eaton seemed to blame the media's line of questioning over the answer given by Ventura.
“You guys were the ones who asked the question about it and [Ventura] has got to answer it some way,” Eaton said. “I goofed up. It’s in the past. We are going to try to move forward. Thank you.”