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Chess Match: Moves pay off

Chess Match: Moves pay off

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Joe Maddon and Ozzie Guillen didn't have to thumb too far into their managerial playbooks during Game 1, but the two managers did have a few choices to make in key situations.

There were no shockers, and for the most part their decisions paid off.

Bases loaded, Balfour's the man
The situation:
The White Sox have the bases loaded with one out in the seventh.


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The decision: Maddon summons Grant Balfour from the bullpen.

The outcome: Balfour strikes out Juan Uribe and Orlando Cabrera to end the threat.

The analysis: Balfour hadn't allowed a hit in seven bases-loaded situations this year, so he was the obvious call. And once again he delivered.

The explanation: "He's been doing it for us all year. I think that's why Joe went to him again." -- Rays catcher Dioner Navarro

Third time, no charm
The situation:
The Rays have two on and one out in the fifth with Evan Longoria due up.


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The decision: Guillen decides to let Javier Vazquez, who had already given up a pair of homers to Longoria, pitch to the Rays third baseman.

The outcome: Longoria delivers an RBI single to give the Rays an insurance run.

The analysis: Vazquez was on the ropes and had already thrown 80-plus pitches. There were arguably more reasons to go with a fresh arm than to stay with the right-hander.

The explanation: "Longoria, that's a guy you want to stay away from. We tried to stay away from him." -- Guillen

Small ball for slugging Sox
The situation:
The White Sox have runners on first and second with none out in the third.


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The decision: Guillen has Juan Uribe lay down a bunt.

The outcome: Uribe advances the runners with an excellent sacrifice.

The analysis: Guillen strayed from the norm by having Uribe, who had only five sacrifice bunts all year, take that tack. But it put two runners in scoring position and lessened the possibility of a double play. And that was significant as Dewayne Wise followed one out later with a three-run home run. The Sox also tried a hit-and-run in the fifth, but A.J. Pierzynski was thrown out.

The explanation: "We had our chances, we just didn't take advantage of them." -- Pierzynski

Dotel does the job
The situation:
The Rays, leading 6-3, have the bases loaded with two outs in the eighth.


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The decision: Guillen brings in right-hander Octavio Dotel to pitch to B.J. Upton.

The outcome: Upton strikes out looking.

The analysis: Any hit by Upton essentially puts the game out of reach and the chances of that happening were decreased with the right-hander Dotel facing Upton instead of the lefty Clayton Richard. Sometimes going by the book is the way to go. This was one of those times.

The explanation: "I think the bullpen did a tremendous job out there." -- Guillen

Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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