NEW YORK -- Kerry Wood called it a feeling.The Yankees' veteran right-hander had a hunch that after he threw one pickoff throw to second base that he might be able to catch young Elvis Andrus leaning the wrong way if he came right back with another. With one out in the seventh inning, Josh Hamilton at the plate and the Rangers trailing, 7-2, in Game 5 of the ALCS on Wednesday, Andrus started to break for third as Wood whirled and fired to shortstop Derek Jeter just in time for the out. "It happens when I'm too aggressive," Andrus said. "It was a mistake, and I will learn from that and keep going. He's got a high kick and every time I see a pitcher with a high kick I have a chance to steal, but he was pretty smart." Wood used his veteran savvy to lure Andrus into his trap. "I went with the no-look pitch," Wood said, referring to the fact that on his first pitch to Hamilton he didn't even glance at Andrus at second. "And then I went with the inside move and I just thought for some reason, I don't know why, I did another one. I never double up on it, he probably thought nobody ever doubles up on it, but I just had a feeling." Meanwhile, Andrus thought he had a pretty good read on Wood's move after the first throw over.
"The first move was easy to see and to check him out," Andrus said. "The second one was better. That's part of the game, though. I should have just stayed at second and let Hamilton hit, but it's part of my game. Sometimes my aggressiveness doesn't work."If nothing else, the Rangers should have already been leery of Wood, given the way he picked Ian Kinsler off in Game 1 of the series. "It's very good," Andrus said of Wood's pickoff move. "I've got to be more careful with him. He got Ian the first game, and today he got me. He's a pretty smart pitcher out there, it's not that easy to steal a base against a guy like that." Given the Yankees troubles throwing out runners this season, the Rangers came into the series wanting to be aggressive on the bases, and they were just that, stealing seven bases in eight attempts through the first four games. "More than anything, I think maybe it will slow them down a little bit," Wood said. "We know they're very aggressive on the basepaths." And, as Wednesday night showed, sometimes too aggressive.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.