10/04/06 4:34 PM ET
Chess Match: Don't play for one
A's don't get cautious in Game 2, and it pays off for them
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Speed over power at DHThe situation: Twins designated hitters scored 66 runs and drove in 63 runs during the regular season, the lowest in the American League. The decision: Manager Ron Gardenhire decided to sit Phil Nevin, his hitless Game 1 DH, and start Jason Tyner, a left-handed hitter who has little power but can run and hit .312 in 62 games this season. The outcome: Tyner didn't do much either, going 0-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base while batting in the eighth spot in the order.
Lefty vs. leftyThe situation: The score was 2-2 in the seventh when left-handed hitter Mark Kotsay came up to face right-handed reliever Pat Neshek with two outs and a runner at first. Left-handers hit .244 off Neshek during the season. Kotsay was .278 off left-handers and .265 off right-handers during the season. The decision: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire brought in left-hander Dennys Reyes to face Kotsay. Left-handed hitters batted .148 off Reyes during the season.
The outcome: Kotsay hit a sinking line drive to center and Torii Hunter missed making a diving catch. The ball skipped past Hunter and went all the way to the fence for a two-run home run.
Needing a strikeoutThe situation: The Athletics, leading 4-2, had a runner on third and one out in the eighth.
The decision: Gardenhire, with No. 9 hitter Ellis at the plate, brought in closer Joe Nathan, hoping to get a strikeout and keep the Athletics from adding onto the lead.The outcome: Nathan did get the strikeout. But before he did, he threw a wild pitch allowing the run to score.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.