OAKLAND -- The Rangers were trailing, 4-1, in the fourth inning on Monday when Lance Berkman went to the bunting game. He led off the inning batting left-handed against Oakland right-hander A.J. Griffin and was facing the usual drastic shift. The Athletics had three infielders on the right side and their third baseman was playing shortstop.
So Berkman tried to bunt it past Griffin on the left side for a leadoff single. But Griffin got off the mound quickly and was able to throw out Berkman at first.
Berkman is not afraid to bunt against the left-handed shift. He has three bunt base hits in his career.
"Coming into last night, I think I was batting .500 trying to bunt," Berkman said. "If they're playing that crazy shift and nobody is on that side of the field, you just have to get it past the pitcher. I didn't do it. There is a time and a place for it. We were down three runs, their pitcher is throwing a good game, I'm trying to get something going. It just didn't work out."
Manager Ron Washington agreed it was worth a shot.
"He just didn't get the speed on the bunt," Washington said. "If he had bunted it a little harder, Griffin would have had to run after it."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.