ANAHEIM, Calif. — The explanation was simple and succinct. But it didn’t make anything easier to digest for the Red Sox.
“I tried to get two before I got one,” said Hanley Ramirez after the Red Sox’ 2-1, walk-off loss to the Angels Thursday night. “That can’t happen. I know better than that. I know that I’ve got [Mike] Trout on third and it was a tough ground ball but I’ve got to make sure of one. I kind of started running before I threw it.”
What Ramirez was talking about was the final, and pivotal, play in the Red Sox’ fourth loss in a row. He had botched what could have been a game-ending, double-play grounder off the bat of pinch-hitter Daniel Nava, sailing the throw home over the head of catcher Sandy Leon after failing to set his feet when releasing the ball.
With the errant toss, both Trout and pinch-runner Ji-Man Choi scored, capping a wild ninth inning the Red Sox could have done without.
“That’s mental right there,” Ramirez said of the throw. “That’s a mental mistake right there. I know what I did wrong and I’ll come back tomorrow and hopefully it won’t happen. But if it happens, it won’t happen again. I rushed it a little bit.”
With closer Brad Ziegler on the mound, the ninth-inning issues began with a slow grounder down the third base line off the bat of Trout. Third baseman Travis Shaw gathered in it, but had to rush his throw, resulting in a short-hop Ramirez couldn’t handle.
“You see the original hop. Couldn’t get it on the original hop so you have to wait for that second bounce,” Shaw explained. “You try and make the transfer as quick as you can. And even in that spot right there I think a perfect transfer he still beats that out. He gets down the line pretty good. Just try and get it out of my hand as quick as I can.
“You know as soon as that ball takes that second bounce, the scouting report is he can run. I didn’t look at him at all. I just know you have to make that transfer and that throw as quick as you can.”
Albert Pujols followed with a line-drive single to left field. Then, after pinch-hitter Carlos Perez failed o three straight bunt attempts, Andrelton Simmons loaded the bases with a base-hit into center field. That set the stage for Nava’s at-bat.
“The only [pitch] that I thought was semi-bad was to Pujols,” Ziegler said. “It was up a little bit. It was still off the plate, but he got his barrel to it. Pitch to Simmons was down. Pitch to Trout was a pretty good pitch. Last one there, they’re all down. Simmons was the one guy who took a pitch that was down and elevated it a little bit. I really, I felt good throwing the ball.”
“You anticipate everything before it happens,” said Ramirez, who now has four errors on the season, committing his first since June 25. “The only thing I can say is I tried to get two before I got one. That can’t happen. You have to make sure of one and go from there.”