It's hard to win a race when you keep shooting yourself in the foot.
The scoreboard showed the Detroit Tigers a 12-4 loser to the Oakland A's on Thursday afternoon, but missing from the numbers are the inning-extending mishaps that continue to plague the defensively challenged Tigers.
Another throwing error by Omar Infante, in the third inning, gave Oakland a run at a time Detroit held the upper hand, 2-0.
The A's ended up tying the score in the fifth, only to have the Tigers retake the lead in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double by Prince Fielder.
But two mishaps in the sixth sparked a four-inning that turned the game around. Oakland grabbed a 6-3 lead and never let it go.
The first mistake came on a one-hop double off the right field wall by Brandon Moss. Rookie Avisail Garcia grabbed it and then made a rookie mistake, showing off his rocket arm with a throw that squirted through the middle of the diamond and let one run in while permitting Moss to take third.
After a two-out intentional walk to set up a right-right situation, that strategy was foiled when Josh Donaldson lined an RBI single to left to put the A's ahead, 4-3. Then George Kottaras lined a ball to center that knuckled on the usually reliable Austin Jackson and went all the way to the wall for a two-run triple.
"We make errors like every other team," shortstop Jhonny Peralta said. "The thing is, when we make them, the game is on the line.
"In the situations we make them, it hurts. In that situation, we need to make a better play, concentrate more."
It's difficult to say whether playing crisp, precise baseball would have made a difference Thursday for Detroit, but it's certain the miscues become increasingly costly as the number of games remaining shrinks toward zero.