ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington thought Ian Kinsler was just trying to bluff Oakland pitcher Gio Gonzalez into a balk. No, Kinsler said. "I was going," Kinsler said. "I was definitely going to try and steal home."
Instead, he scored on a belatedly-called balk in the Rangers' two-run fourth inning that sent them on their way to a 10-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics at the Ballpark in Arlington on Wednesday. It was such a strange play that home plate umpire Tim Tschida didn't actually rule it a balk until after the game was over. But Kinsler was still lamenting not being able to actually steal home. "It would have been fun to see if I could make it," Kinsler said. Vladimir Guerrero led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a single and scored when Kinsler doubled into the left-field corner. Justin Smoak's fly ball moved Kinsler to third, but Gonzalez came back to strike out Ryan Garko. That brought up David Murphy. But as Gonzalez went into his windup for the first pitch, Kinsler broke for home. "In the Garko at-bat, I had his timing down," Kinsler said. "I thought I could make it. He has a pause in his windup before he goes into his leg kick. I felt I could have gone and made it." As Kinsler broke, Gonzalez stopped his windup and stepped off the rubber, softly tossing the ball to catcher Landon Powell, who had risen from his squat. He had Kinsler easily caught in a possible rundown, particularly because Kinsler thought Gonzalez had balked and stopped halfway between third and home. "My angle showed it was a balk," Kinsler said. "He started his windup and then stopped it. That's a balk." That was the call after the game. At the time, Tschida did not call a balk. There was no call. The A's could have had Kinsler out easily in a rundown, but Gonzalez's throw home was wild, skipping to the backstop with Powell out of position, and Kinsler jogged home with the second run of the inning. "I would have just stepped off, taken my time and thrown home," Gonzalez said. "I just rushed it. It was a free out, and I kind of just threw it away myself. I don't know what happened. I thought I had stepped enough off the mound, and I don't know how they determine if it's a balk there." The original ruling had Kinsler score on a throwing error, but Tschida made the change to a balk after the game concluded.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.