ARLINGTON, Texas – Michael Saunders admitted he was more lucky than good during a fifth inning in which his opponents uncharacteristically booted the ball around.
Saunders was hung out to dry between bases when caught leaning too far off second base by Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski. So, he took off for third base hoping for the best – and got it.
Pierzynski threw to shortstop Jurickson Profar – covering second – and he prepared to throw on to third. But third baseman Adrian Beltre had been playing in at the time, got a late break covering his bag and Profar opted to hang on to the ball.
Instead of being picked off, Saunders was credited with a stolen base – one of three fielding gaffes by the Rangers that frame that led to an eventual run.
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“Originally, I did think of going back (to second) but I was dead,” Saunders said. “If I go back, I’m out if he (Pierzynski) makes a good throw. So, I just took off for third and luckily (Adrian) Beltre was playing in at the time.”
Saunders had singled to open the inning, and then Dustin Ackley rolled a grounder up the first-base line. Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland picked it up, took a quick look at second and then prepared to toss the ball to first base.
But Yu Darvish was a tad late breaking to that bag, so Moreland held the ball and Ackley was credited with an infield single. Later on, with runners at the corners following the Saunders steal, Endy Chavez chopped a ball to Moreland, who stepped on his bag for a quick out.
Moreland appeared to have a shot as well at Saunders, who was breaking for the plate. But he opted instead to try to complete the double play at second base, which did not work out as the run scored.