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Chess Match: Oliver gets mixed results

Chess Match: Oliver gets mixed results

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LOS ANGELES -- The best-of-five National League Division Series between the NL East champion Mets and Wild Card Dodgers lasted all of three games as the Dodgers joined the American League Central champion Twins as being swept out of the postseason.

As was the case in the first two games of this series, decisions made by opposing managers Willie Randolph of the Mets and first-year Dodgers skipper Grady Little figured prominently in the outcome of Game 3.

Time for a change
The situation: After scoring two runs, cutting a four-run deficit in half, the Dodgers had runners on second and third base with one out in the fourth inning.

The decision: When left-handed hitting Andre Ethier was announced as a pinch-hitter, Randolph replaced right-handed starter Steve Trachsel with left-handed reliever Darren Oliver.

The outcome: Ethier hit a soft line drive up the middle. Oliver caught the ball, turned and threw to third base for the inning-ending double play.

Well, on second thought...
The situation: The Dodgers had a runner on first base with two outs in the fifth inning when Jeff Kent came to bat representing the tying run.

The decision: Randolph, who could have brought submarine-artist Chad Bradford in to pitch to Kent -- the hottest hitter the Dodgers have and the most likely to hit a home run, stayed with Oliver.

The outcome: Kent hit the first pitch he saw from Oliver for a game-tying two-run home run to left field.

Take another approach
The situation: Kent's two-run home run keyed a three-run rally in the fifth inning that gave the Dodgers a 5-4 lead.

The decision: Little, who had used starter Brad Penny in relief in Game 1 and it didn't work out so well, went to Jonathan Broxton to start the sixth inning.

The outcome: Broxton surrendered a double, walk and single to the four batters he faced as the Mets regained the lead and never lost it.

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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