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“We’ve got to be heads up. I think one thing we’re very proud of with the Yankees is that we play good baseball,” New York first baseman Mark Teixeira said.

“I’m not sure if you notice, but every time I catch a ball, every time I’m coming off first base, I run towards third because if a guy is rounding third, you never know what he’s going to do, especially if the guy has speed,” he said.

Texas basically stole its first three runs against the Rays in the deciding Game 5. Elvis Andrus and Vladimir Guerrero scampered home from second base on grounders and Nelson Cruz scored on a throwing error by catcher Kelly Shoppach.

“In this situation, it seems like a mistake really gives those guys a couple runs there,” Yankees catcher Jorge Posada said.

The defending World Series champion Yankees made only 69 errors this year, fewest in the majors.

“We preach it all year long,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It plays an important role in games because you start making errors and giving extra baserunners, a lot of times it leads to runs. It leads to a longer pitch count for your pitcher and you go to your bullpen maybe sooner than you want.

“There’s a lot of ways that it can affect the game,” he said. “And, usually, when you see teams that have pitching and defense, usually they play a long time.”


AP Sports Writers Ronald Blum, Janie McCauley and Rob Maaddi contributed to this report.