TORONTO (Reuters) - The Texas Rangers saw their post-season unravel in spectacular style with three consecutive errors in the seventh inning allowing the Toronto Blue Jays to steal a 6-3 win on Wednesday and a trip to the American League Championship Series.
The Rangers had opened the best-of-five AL Division Series by taking two wins in Toronto but followed that with three successive losses, including two at home.
Despite the nose dive the Rangers exited the post-season with their heads held high having exceeded expectations.
“Where we started in spring training, the entire baseball world had us, I think, picked 27th, I believe,” said Rangers manager Jeff Banister.
”We lost our ace, we lost our number two (starter), we lost our left-fielder, our third baseman has been playing hurt all year long. We had three players coming back from significant injuries.
”We have had so many contributors this year that one inning in a set of three games will not define our season.
“One game, one inning, a set of three will not define what these group of guys were capable of doing this year.”
With starter Cole Hamels keeping the Blue Jays in check for 6-1/3 innings the Rangers looked in control taking a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh.
But Texas self-destructed with a run of three consecutive errors, including two by Elvis Andrus.
After Josh Donaldson hit a single to score Kevin Pillar to tie the game at 3-3, slugger Jose Bautista slammed a three-run homer into the second deck.
”Look, one inning won’t define who this ball club is and who they’ve been all year long,“ said Banister. ”Challenging and I hurt for them.
”Cole (Hamels) did what he needed to do. We failed to make a couple plays behind him. We talked about it, the team that makes mistakes is going to be in trouble, bottom line.
”We are not a perfect ball club, by any stretch of the imagination, but what we do is we go out and play hard every single day. We show up for each other.
”We won the American League West when nobody thought we would do anything in the game of baseball.
“I‘m most proud of how those guys played all year long, and how they showed up.”
Editing by Greg Stutchbury