Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 10/20/11
ST. LOUIS Texas manager Ron Washington has never been one to shy away from playing his instincts over the percentages. He's the same manager who jokes before games that his lineup is whatever comes out of his pen. He also loves to play his gut in the face of conventional wisdom. The gut didn't pay off in Game 1 of the World Series Wednesday night, as the moves the Rangers made late failed to produce the desired result in the 3-2 St. Louis victory. Bullpen ace Alexi Ogando couldn't rescue C.J. Wilson in bottom of the sixth, as pinch-hitter Allen Craig lined the game-winning single down the line in right. Texas had a chance to answer in the seventh but pinch hitters Craig Gentry and Esteban German couldn't come through, opening a huge door for second guessers. The big Texas opportunity came in the seventh after the Rangers got runners to second and third with one out. Washington then pinch-hit for David Murphy when the Cardinals brought in left-hander Marc Rzepczynski. Gentry did nothing, taking strike three. Texas then pinch-hit for Ogando. But instead of going with right-handed hitting Yorvit Torrealba, Washington opted for German. The same German who hasn't had an at-bat since Sept. 25 and hasn't seen action in any of the playoff games despite being on the postseason roster. Rzepczynski struck him out also and the Rangers didn't have another baserunner. The Gentry move was by the numbers. But German over Torrealba, who is hitting .333 in the playoffs? "Can you guarantee me that if I used Torrealba he would have done anything different?" Washington said. "I used the guy that I thought get me the base hit." The Rangers didn't have to worry about losing a catcher if Torrealba pinch hit because the club added Matt Treanor to the roster before the series to give them more flexibility. Torrealba was healthy and ready to go, but Washington informed German that he would get the at-bat. German said the blame for not coming through shouldn't go to Washington. "You always have to be ready for your moments," said German, who had five hits for Texas after being called up in September. "It's no excuse. I have to be ready to swing the bat. We have BP and we face live pitching every day when we're home. I went in there and they pitched good and then won the battle." They also won it against Gentry, although the numbers backed Washington's decision. Gentry hit .265 against left-handers this season while Murphy hit just .215. Still, Murphy came into the game hitting .391 on the postseason and had a big two-run single off a left-hander in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. Murphy wanted the chance, but he's not doubting his manager. "I definitely want that opportunity but I trust my manager and I trust the coaching staff," said Murphy, who was 0 for 2. "It's obviously a spot I would have loved to have been in but Craig's done a lot of good things against lefties this year. In a situation like that, what's out of my hands is out of my hands. I'm cheering my teammate on." One move no one will second guess is Washington's decision to bring on Ogando to face Craig in the sixth inning. Starter C.J. Wilson got into two-out jam and Texas went to its postseason stopper. The move worked out early as Ogando go ahead of Craig before he lined a 98-mph fastball out of the reach of a sliding Nelson Cruz. That hit, the first go-ahead pinch-hit RBI in the World Series since 1996, scored David Freese with the game-winning run. Catcher Mike Napoli called for an outside pitch and that's where Ogando put it. Craig just got the best of him. "That's where I wanted to locate the pitch," Ogando said. "You have to give credit to the hitter." Washington said that the Cardinals deserve credit for winning the game more than the Rangers should shoulder the burden for losing it. That was the same sentiment shared by his players. "They were making pitches when they had to," Texas first baseman Michael Young said. "One run was the difference. We'll come out and get them tomorrow. When you get breaks you've got to capitalize on them. They did that tonight."
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