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10/19/09 12:50 AM ET

Chess Match: Easy decisions in rout

Phils erupt, taking drama out of Manuel and Torre's choices

PHILADELPHIA -- This one was over quickly.

Both managers had relatively little to do. Manager Joe Torre had to agonize over starter Hiroki Kuroda. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel only had to sit back and admire the work of his starter Cliff Lee.

By the third inning, there was only major move left to make. It was Manuel's decision. He made an interesting choice.

Running start
The situation:
The Phillies decided to come out running against Kuroda and catcher Russell Martin in the first inning.

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The decision: Shane Victorino singled with one out and stole second with Chase Utley at the plate. Utley then singled to right, moving Victorino to third. With Ryan Howard up, Utley was running on a 3-1 pitch.

The outcome: Howard ripped a triple into the right-field corner, scoring two runs. Jayson Werth followed with a two-run home run and the Phillies had a 4-0 lead.

The analysis: "Yeah, our hitting, our offense was very good, of course, and we hit. Howard got us going with a triple in the first inning and then we got a couple home runs, but most of all we hit the ball, everybody kind of contributed and we hit the ball good up and down the lineup." -- Manuel

Trying to keep it close
The situation:
The Phillies, after scoring four runs in the first inning, were threatening to blow the Dodgers out of the ballpark when they started the second with a double by Carlos Ruiz, a sacrifice bunt by Lee and a run-scoring double by Jimmy Rollins against Kuroda.

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The decision: Torre used two relievers trying to keep the Phillies from another big inning.

The outcome: Left-hander Scott Elbert took over and walked two hitters to load the bases. Howard's roller up the first-base line scored one run. Torre then brought in Chad Billingsley, who struck out Werth to end the inning.

The analysis: "Today was one of those games. They scored 11 runs but they only beat us once. So that's the good news. But obviously we didn't pitch to where we were supposed to pitch today." -- Torre

What's a big enough lead?
The situation:
The Phillies led, 8-0, in the bottom of the eighth. Lee was second up in the inning and had already thrown 114 pitches.

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The decision: Ruiz led off with a walk. Manuel then let Lee go up to hit.

The outcome: Lee singled to center and scored on Victorino's three-run home run. That gave the Phillies an 11-0 lead. Lee then did not go back to the mound for the ninth inning.

The analysis: "Right, obviously coming to the plate I figured I was going out for the ninth. But when Victorino hits the home run, they told me that was it. If I would have known that were the case, I would have tried hitting into a double play or something to go back out there." -- Lee

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