BOSTON -- Lance Berkman said to put Thursday night's 6-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox on him, not Michael Kirkman, who gave up a walk off three-run home run to David Ortiz, and not on an offense that left nine runners on base.
As Berkman told it after the game, if he turns a double play in the seventh inning, the Texas Rangers have their best chance to win the game.
Instead, the Red Sox were able to complete a rally from an early three-run deficit and win the three-game series. The Rangers' lead in the American League West is down to a half-game after Oakland rallied to beat the Chicago White Sox.
Turn two and the story might be different.
The Rangers were clinging to a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh when Robbie Ross loaded the bases with one out. Manager Ron Washington went to Jason Frasor hoping for a double play to get out of the inning. Ex-Ranger Mike Napoli, 0-for-5 lifetime against Frasor, obliged with a ground ball to Berkman at first base.
Berkman decided to go for the double play instead of trying to get an out at home with the speedy Jacoby Ellsbury running. The only problem is Berkman made a low throw, forcing Elvis Andrus to have to scoop it up as he touched second base. Andrus' throw to first was just late to get Napoli and Ellsbury scored to tie the game at 3-3.
"I thought we had a great chance to turn the double play the conventional way," Berkman said. "Get out of the inning. It didn't work out because I didn't make a very good throw.
"A decent throw gets him there," Berkman said. "It's on me."
Thursday brought Berkman's second start at first base this season. He didn't have a single chance in his first one against Arizona last Monday. He had everything from popups down the line to slow rollers happen to him Thursday and he even was able to throw out Ellsbury at home in the fifth inning.
"The ball found me a lot today," Berkman said.
Berkman also found himself in a key situation at the plate in the top of the ninth inning with the score still tied at 3-3. With the go-ahead run at second and two outs in the inning, Berkman, stuck in a 2-for-19 slump, struck out swinging against Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey.
"The guy struck me out," Berkman said. "I'm not hitting the ball very well. It's really not that complicated. I'm in a funk. I'm trying to work my way out of it."
Still, Berkman said, don't blame the offense and the 2-for-12 performance with runners in scoring position. Or Kirkman's fastball that was crushed by Ortiz for a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth.
Yes, the Rangers had a chance to break the game open leading 3-0.
But turn a double play and maybe it's a different story.
"The bottom line is we had a chance to win the game defensively and we didn't do it because we couldn't turn that double play because I didn't make a very good throw," Berkman said. "To me, it's a lot easier to turn a double play than it is to get a hit with a runner in scoring position. If we could have gotten out of that inning and gotten to our eighth- and ninth-inning guys we would have had a chance to win."