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Chess Match: Skippers affect outcome

Chess Match: Skippers affect outcome

NEW YORK -- The outcome of any game can turn on one play, or a series of plays, and the opener of the best-of-five National League Division Series between the Dodgers and Mets was no exception.

Managers made some decisions that worked splendidly, and others that didn't pan out at all.

Among the major ones made in Game 1:

Left out
The situation: With runners on first and second bases in the seventh inning and right-hander Brad Penny pitching in relief, left-handed hitting Carlos Delgado came to bat for the Mets.

The decision: Manager Grady Little already had used Mark Hendrickson, his only left-handed reliever because of a freak accident that knocked dependable lefty Joe Beimel out of the Division Series, so he stayed with the hard-throwing Penny.

The outcome: Delgado, 3-for-3 in the game, grounded a single into left field, driving in the go-ahead run in what became a decisive two-run rally.

Captain Hook
The situation: The Dodgers had runners on first and second bases with one out in the fifth inning against Mets starter John Maine.

The decision: Although Maine needed just two more outs to qualify for the win, manager Willie Randolph elected to replace the rookie with left-handed reliever Pedro Feliciano to face left-handed-hitting Kenny Lofton.

The outcome: Feliciano struck out Lofton for the second out and right-hander Chad Bradford came in to retire Nomar Garciaparra, protecting a 2-1 lead.

Unguarded base
The situation: Trailing by two runs in the seventh inning, the Dodgers had Wilson Betemit on third base and Rafael Furcal on first with two outs.

The decision: The Mets didn't pay enough attention to Furcal and he promptly swiped second base without a throw, putting the tying run in scoring position.

The outcome: Garciaparra doubled to left field, scoring both runners to tie the game.

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

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