10/13/06 8:15 PM ET
Chess Match: Tigers pull closer
Leyland's moves have club enjoying 3-0 ALCS lead
By Jim Molony / MLB.com
Off and running
The situation: Detroit's Curtis Granderson was on first base with nobody out and a full count on Craig Monroe in the home half of the first inning.
The decision: Leyland sent Granderson, and when Oakland second baseman D'Angelo Jimenez moved toward the bag, Monroe hit the ball to the right side of the infield, not far from where Jimenez had been playing on the previous pitch.
The outcome: The ball went through for a base hit, and Granderson wound up on third base to set the stage for Placido Polanco's RBI single. The Tigers went on to score another run to go up 2-0.
The skinny: "He's the guy that's been killing us a lot," Oakland starter Rich Harden said of Polanco. "They did what they've been doing in this series, putting the pressure on us. They scored early again and kept us trying to play catch up," Oakland designated hitter Frank Thomas said.
A vote of confidence
The situation: Leading, 3-0, in the eighth, Detroit starter Kenny Rogers walked leadoff batter Nick Swisher.
The decision: After visiting with Rogers, Leyland decided to leave Rogers in the game even though the left-hander had thrown 92 pitches.
The outcome: Rogers induced Marco Scutaro to hit into a fielder's choice, as Swisher was out at second. Rogers was then replaced by Fernando Rodney, who got Bobby Kielty to hit into an inning-ending double play.
The skinny: "I just wanted to make sure to calm him down a little bit. I felt like he could still get a ground ball, which he did," Leyland said. "We didn't turn it. Obviously, I wanted to turn the next hitter around, and I thought certainly he had done enough for the night."
A game of inches
The situation: Leading, 3-0, in the seventh, the Tigers had runners on first and second with nobody out.
The decision: Polanco laid down a bunt to the left of the mound.
The outcome: Oakland pitcher Chad Gaudin fielded the ball and threw to third baseman Eric Chavez to force Granderson, although replays cast some doubt on whether the ball actually beat the Tigers center fielder to the bag.
Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.