Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Did Caution Kill Rally by Padres? San Diego May Have Sacrificed Big Inning

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Did Caution Kill Rally by Padres? San Diego May Have Sacrificed Big Inning

Article excerpt

To bunt or not to bunt. That was the question San Diego manager Bruce Bochy and seven-time batting champion Tony Gwynn considered in the eighth inning Thursday at Busch Stadium.

That, and several other quirky moments, provided food for thought after the Cardinals' 5-4 victory.

With the home team leading 4-3 in the top of the eighth, the Padres had Gwynn at the plate with runners on first and second and no outs. The Cardinals went to the bullpen and fetched lefthander Rick Honeycutt. Gwynn, who batted .353 this season, went to the dugout to discuss and dissect with Bochy. The manager was willing to start his runners, let Gwynn play run-and-hit, and let the dice roll on a big inning. But Gwynn was less ambitious. "He asked me if I wanted to play hit and run and to be honest, I wasn't sure I could put the ball on the ground against Honeycutt," Gwynn said. "The way he was pitching me, with that breaking ball, I thought I would have a hard time doing that. So (Bochy) said, `OK, then let's put the ball on the ground and that's what we did." Gwynn bunted perfectly, moving the runners to second and third. And when Steve Finley followed with a grounder to John Mabry at first, the tying run scored, making it 4-4. But the opportunity for bigger and better things was sacrificed - so to speak. "I'm happy they chose that route," Honeycutt said. "You know Tony's going to put the ball in play. You hate to take the bat out of his hands, but then we did the same thing in our half when we had (Gary) Gaetti bu nting. Sometimes the situation just calls for that." Another situation called for some explanation, at least in the mind of starting San Diego pitcher Scott Sanders. The righthander made an early exit in the fifth inning with the game tied 1-1. Sanders had allowed only three hits to that point, but he had walked four and found himself into a pickle with one out in the fifth. …

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