(The Sports Xchange) - St Louis manager Mike Matheny rolled the dice in the late innings of Sunday’s 3-2 win over Colorado, gambling that the Cardinals would win the game in nine innings.
Pinch-hitter Brandon Moss’ one-out RBI single in the bottom of the ninth kept the Cardinals from having to play their 15th extra-inning game of the year.
The fact the gamble paid off was a good thing because the Cardinals would have been almost completely out of troops had the game reached the 10th.
Beginning with the decision to pinch-hit starting catcher Yadier Molina for backup Tony Cruz in the seventh, Matheny burned through his bench fast.
Greg Garcia pinch-hit to begin the eighth and singled, eventually reaching third on a wild pitch and flyout.
At that point, Matheny lifted Garcia for pinch-runner Peter Bourjos, feeling his superior speed might make the difference in breaking open a 2-2 game.
However, Bourjos ended up being wasted when Kolten Wong rapped into an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play.
Matheny kept pushing his chips to the table in the ninth, sending Moss up for Mark Reynolds as the Rockies had no lefties warming up.
Had Moss made an out, though, Colorado could have intentionally walked Molina and forced Matheny to hit closer Trevor Rosenthal or send up .147-hitting Pete Kozma for the pitcher.
Moss’ grounder into left field made those possibilities irrelevant but a different outcome in his at-bat might have meant a different outcome for the game.
“I don’t know if I’ve been around anyone who’s been as happy to put on a Cardinal uniform. We put him in a tough spot today, and he delivered. He took what the pitcher gave him,” Matheny said of recent acquisition Moss.
Editing by John O'Brien