"I've got to make the play in that situation," Carter said.
Thatcher, a sidearm-throwing lefty, came into the game with the bases loaded in relief of starter Roberto Hernandez with two outs in the fifth. He got Mitch Moreland hit a grounder back to the mound, and after fielding the ball between his legs, he fired a throw to Carter at first. The ball hit the edge of Carter's glove and dropped, allowing Carlos Peguero to score. Elvis Andrus followed with a two-run single, giving the Rangers a 5-1 lead and all the momentum.
"We didn't finish plays that we normally do," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I was a little surprised by that. It happens and it's certainly nothing you want to happen, expect to happen. We've been playing pretty clean baseball. ... You've got to finish plays and that hurt."
Thatcher certainly didn't do Carter any favors by throwing the ball with such velocity, but the onus was on Carter to catch it.
"Look, we made those plays 99 times of 100," Hinch said. "The one time out of 100 is a killer."
Thatcher says winding up and throwing sidearm is the only way he knows how to throw, whether it's playing catch, pitching or throwing to a base.
"The way I throw is just how I throw naturally," he said. "Even when I pick up a ball to start throwing, it's just the way I throw. You know, I didn't make it very easy on him. It was a low throw. If I hit him in the chest, he catches it. That's just, that's the way I throw but like I said, I could have made a lot better throw. It's frustrating because I made the pitch, and all I do is make a throw and we're out of the jam and momentum probably switches to us. I guess it was just bad execution on my part."
Had Carter made the catch at home, Thatcher's between-the-legs stop of Moreland's grounder might have ended up on some highlight reels.
"It kind of surprised me for a second that I had it, but it doesn't matter," Thatcher said. "Make a good throw then it's a good play. It doesn't matter how I caught it. Just got to execute better."