SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Bumbling on the bases and fumbling on the field did in the Texas Rangers.
Their manager didn’t help, either.
That’s what a first World Series appearance will do to a team.
In Wednesday night’s dismal 11-7 loss to the San Francisco Giants, Texas resembled the woeful Washington Senators of its expansion roots far more than the exciting team that won a surprise American League pennant.
“We have to find ourselves the next game,” Bengie Molina said.
Cliff Lee looked nothing like the ace who had gone 7-0 in eight postseason starts. Meantime, Texas became the first team in six years to make four errors in a World Series game.
Ian Kinsler got tagged out when he took a turn past first base on a ball he thought rolled away but didn’t.
Michael Young let Edgar Renteria’s leadoff grounder to third kick off his glove for an error that led to San Francisco tying the score in a two-run third inning.
Shortstop Elvis Andrus misplayed Tim Lincecum’s grounder in the fifth, and Vladimir Guerrero — inserted into right field in the NL park rather than his usual designated hitter slot — let two hits skip by for errors in a three-run eighth. The Rangers hadn’t made four errors in a game since July 2008, according to STATS LLC.
“Usually, a team makes errors, you’re going to find a way to score off them,” Young said. “But we’ve been a great defensive team all season long, so this isn’t really something we’re going to lose sleep over.”
Guerrero had played just once in the outfield since the start of September.
“Nobody is perfect,” he said. “I made a couple of mistakes. I’m not going to put my head down. I have to be ready for tomorrow. I wanted to play, and it was the manager’s decision to put me in there.”
By the time Lee labored through 32 pitches in the third it was clear he wasn’t nearly the unhittable, dominant pitcher who went 3-0 in the AL playoffs against Tampa Bay and the Yankees. The one who allowed two runs in 24 innings.
Maybe manager Ron Washington couldn’t believe his eyes, either. His bullpen was empty until the Giants were ahead 3-2 on consecutive doubles by Andres Torres and Freddy Sanchez off the fading Lee. Not until Lee went to a full count on Pat Burrell did Darren O’Day sprint down the right-field line to the bullpen. Burrell walked and Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff hit RBI singles that made it 5-2.
Washington insisted he didn’t have O’Day get up too late. He thought Lee would get through the trouble.
“He was still in control,” he said.
With O’Day hardly having time to warm up, Juan Uribe homered on the side-armer’s third pitch, sending it into the left-field bleachers for an 8-2 lead.
O’Day thought he had sufficient time to get ready.
“I was good. In the playoffs, you throw out what inning you normally come in. You have to be ready any time,” he said. “I had to come in with a strike. I got down 2-0 and threw a fastball down the middle, and he hit the home run.”
Andrus admitted the Rangers showed World Series jitters.
“Oh, yeah, for sure. That’s a new experience for most of the people here,” he said
And now the Rangers won’t have their ace, Lee, until they get to Game 5. If they get to Game 5.
Not much time to regroup.
“When you lose, it’s just a loss. You’re 0-1. So tomorrow, we’ve just got to get it together and see what happens,” Molina said. “The great thing about this team is that we don’t think about the loss.”