ST. LOUIS -- Tony La Russa was faced with some tough choices in the ninth inning of Game 2. After a blooper by Ian Kinsler (Michael Young called it a lawn dart), a two-strike single by Elvis Andrus and a botched play by Albert Pujols when he failed to glove a relay throw, La Russa saw Rangers at second and third and no outs.
La Russa went with lefty Arthur Rhodes to try to get Josh Hamilton out, rather than walk him.
"You know, loading the bases, that's a really difficult thing to do," La Russa said. "We had a chance to do something with Hamilton with Rhodes, maybe they score a run but they don't advance the other guy. He did a good job. He pulled a ball, so he got a run in and got a guy over."
What about letting closer Jason Motte, more of a strikeout pitcher, stay in against Hamilton?
"Hamilton handles a fastball pretty well and if [Andrus] hadn't gotten to second base, probably would have left him in there," La Russa said. "But if you're thinking about how can you get an out and maybe not have the guy go from second to third, I thought the left-hander had a better chance. He got an out, just he got in front of the ball and pulled it. That's really good hitting."
So in a 1-1 game with a runner at third and one out, La Russa decides to have right-hander Lance Lynn pitch to Young rather than walk him to set up a double play with Adrian Beltre behind him.
"Young did a very good job of getting the ball to the outfield," La Russa said.
La Russa made his pitching changes and opted to pitch to the middle of the Rangers' order. And the Rangers hitter did what the game asked them to do.