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Hamilton's dropped pop symbolizes Rangers' blown division lead

The SportsXchange

As Josh Hamilton goes, so go the Texas Rangers. It was never truer than Wednesday.

Hamilton dropped a sure-thing pop fly. The Rangers dropped their seemingly iron-clad grip on the AL West.

As the Rangers completed an epic collapse with a 12-5 loss to Oakland that handed the A's the division title, Hamilton's glaring misplay of a two-out pop fly in the decisive fourth inning was at the center of the day.

The loss puts the Rangers into the AL wild card-game Friday. They will host the Baltimore Orioles.

Hamilton's blunder allowed the final two runs -- the go-ahead runs -- to score in a six-run fourth inning that erased a 5-1 Texas lead.

Hamilton seemed to have Yoenis Cespedes' fly without issue, but when he got to the ball, he didn't "break down" his approach softly enough, he said, and he found himself about a half-step in front of the ball. When he reached up, his glove was just slightly behind his head, and he took his eyes off the ball. It was just enough to create the error that ensued.

Cespedes wound up at second, and two runs ended up scoring.

"There is no excuse for it," Hamilton said. "I just missed it."

After the inning was over, manager Ron Washington sought Hamilton out for an explanation. Hamilton replied to him, smiling briefly and pointing to the sky. Washington offered what appeared to be a perplexed shrug at Hamilton, but after the game, both the manager and player said there was no incident between them.

"I asked him what happened and he told me," Washington said. "Nothing more."
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