Andrus' hit streak to start playoffs reaches nine

Andrus' hit streak to start playoffs reaches nine

NEW YORK -- The Rangers' youngest player is flourishing in the postseason, both offensively and defensively. Elvis Andrus smacked a single to left in the fifth inning of Game 4, giving him a nine-game hitting streak to start his postseason career.

Andrus, who is three months younger than closer Neftali Feliz, is hitting .317 for the playoffs after going 1-for-5 in Game 4. Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter started his postseason career by hitting safely in nine straight. Andrus ties him at least for the longest among shortstops, but being tied with Jeter in any postseason category is impressive company.

"I'm just doing what I'm supposed to do," Andrus said. "I'm trying to see a lot of pitches and have good at-bats. I feel my timing is great and my approach has been right. I'm feeling like I did at the beginning of the season."

The distinction is important. Andrus hit .280 with a .361 on-base percentage during the first half on his way to a spot on the American League All-Star team. He hit .247 with a .318 on-base percentage in the second half, including .184 in September/October.

But the Rangers clinched the American League West in plenty of time to get Andrus some rest in the final week of the season and now he has taken his offensive game back to another level during the playoffs.

"He's doing what he does," manager Ron Washington said. "The kid is not fazed by anything. He certainly knows how to stay within his game. For a young kid, that's amazing."

His defense has also been terrific, and he made the most important defensive play of the game on Tuesday night.

The Yankees had the bases loaded with one out in the fourth inning when Brett Gardner hit a sharp grounder into the left-side hole. Andrus made a terrific diving stop and got a force at third. A run scored, but Rangers pitcher Derek Holland struck out Francisco Cervelli to end the inning, meaning Andrus prevented a possible prolonged rally by the Yankees.