Teixeira misses the mark on defense in Game 4
Four-time Gold Glove winner commits costly error in series-ending loss
DETROIT -- With their offense still in hibernation, the last thing the Yankees could afford in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series was a defensive meltdown from a four-time Gold Glover.
But that's what happened to Mark Teixeira in the third inning on Thursday, and it not only cost the Yankees a run, it taxed ace CC Sabathia into a bunch of extra pitches, perhaps leading to the lefty's unraveling an inning later.
The Yankees took an 8-1 loss and were swept by the Tigers.
With the Yankees down, 1-0, when the bottom of the third started, Teixeira made two misplays, and the opportunistic and now World Series-bound Tigers capitalized.
"The first one is a do-or-die," said Teixeira. "I know if I don't go to get it, there's no chance I'm getting [the out]. It just got past me. The second one, I tried to back up on it, and it just took a high hop and I just missed it."
Sabathia had retired Miguel Cabrera for the first out when Prince Fielder hit a routine grounder. Teixeira tried to backhand it, but instead the ball ticked off his glove and into right for what the official scorer did not rule an error. However, it was a play that Teixeira just about always makes.
After a walk to Delmon Young, Sabathia got Jhonny Peralta on a flyout and was just an out away from keeping it a 1-0 game.
But Andy Dirks hit a grounder that bounced off the top of Teixeira's glove and toward second base to load the bases. This one was ruled an error.
For perspective, consider that Teixeira made just one error all season.
Naturally, the Tigers got an RBI single from Avisail Garcia to make it 2-0.
"It's a hard field, but I knew that," said Teixeira. "Taking grounders here the last few days, you know it's a hard field. That's why you just try to get that good hop, two in-between hops. You try to get one of them. Both of them got past me."
If not for Teixeira's first defensive gaffe, on the Fielder play, the Peralta flyout could have been the third out of the inning. Sabathia wound up making 12 pitches after that, to bring him to 73 through three innings.
The Tigers knocked him out with a four-run fourth, and it's hard to believe anyone felt worse about it than Teixeira.