Washington's strategy pays off in ninth inning

Washington's strategy pays off in ninth inning

Washington's strategy pays off in ninth inning
DETROIT -- Simply put, Rangers manager Ron Washington was more concerned about Miguel Cabrera than Victor Martinez. That's why he made the decision he did in the ninth inning of Monday's game.

The Rangers had a 2-0 lead in the ninth, and right-handed closer Neftali Feliz retired the first two hitters he faced. Then Ryan Raburn gave the Tigers some hope with a two-out double to right. That brought up Cabrera, a right-handed hitter, as the tying run.

But Washington decided to intentionally walk Cabrera and let Feliz pitch to Martinez, a switch-hitter who would be batting from the left side.

"I had to pick my poison, and I didn't want Cabrera taking us to extra innings," Washington said. "Martinez is a good hitter and I have respect for him, but he's not swinging the bat well. He could have caught one and won the ballgame, but I decided to take my chances. I didn't want Cabrera tying that game."

Cabrera, who finished second to Josh Hamilton in the American League MVP voting last season, entered the game hitting .355 with four home runs. Martinez was hitting .255 with two home runs. Cabrera was 2-for-3 on the afternoon while Martinez was 0-for-3. Cabrera was 1-for-3 with a home run in his career against Feliz, while Martinez had a single in his only at-bat against him.

"I think the answer is very simple: They did what they felt gave them the best chance to win the game," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "And that's what you do as a manager. If they felt that was their best chance to win the game, then that's what they should do. I give them a lot of credit.

"They felt that was their best shot to win the game, and I felt very comfortable with Victor in that position, a very professional hitter, a very good RBI guy. And it looked like he was pitching him a little bit careful."

Feliz missed with his first two pitches, but then got Martinez on a routine grounder to first baseman Mitch Moreland to end the game.