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Bochy's moves pay off big as Giants produce

Bochy's moves pay off big as Giants produce

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants shook up their lineup, then they shook the Phillies' Cole Hamels.

These two developments in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series at AT&T Park on Tuesday were absolutely interrelated.

Looking for any sort of spark at the top of the order, manager Bruce Bochy gave the struggling Andres Torres a break. In Torres' place in the leadoff spot, Bochy gave veteran Edgar Renteria his first start of this postseason. In Torres' spot in center field, Bochy placed Aaron Rowand, who also got his first start.

Both moves paid off. Renteria was the first to get to Hamels, who worked three perfect innings to start the game, with a leadoff single in the fourth, setting the table for a two-run inning. In the fifth, Rowand was the table-setter, delivering a leadoff double and later coming in to score on Freddy Sanchez's two-out single off the glove of Chase Utley.


"You feel good for them," Bochy said of Renteria and Rowand. "I mean, they're pros. And they've done a great job of setting aside their ego, because we have tried to get our matchups, and we've got guys that are used to being out there every day. ... They've been a big part of this, and to get them out there and win the game and have them contribute the way they did, I feel good for them."

Bochy had a lot to consider when constructing this lineup. Beyond the fact that the Giants' bats -- or at least the bats not belonging to Cody Ross -- haven't made much noise in October, he also had Juan Uribe's injured left wrist and Hamels' left hand to factor into the equation.

Tests on Uribe's wrist revealed inflammation and nothing more serious. So he was ready to return to the lineup after a Game 2 absence. But Bochy had to decide whether to play him at short or third. With Mike Fontenot struggling offensively and defensively and Torres in need of a break, Bochy opted to place Uribe at third and gave Renteria the start so that he'd have a leadoff replacement.

"With the left-hander going, Edgar was going to play today," Bochy said. "So it was just a matter of how we worked the order. Just tweak the order a little bit. And with Torres out, Edgar was our best option to lead off, and he did a nice job there, even his first at-bat."

Bochy also tinkered with the heart of his order, moving Aubrey Huff, ordinarily the No. 3 hitter, down to No. 6 and raising the hot-hitting Ross to No. 5.

Both of those moves worked, too. After cleanup hitter Pat Burrell drew a two-out walk to put two on in the fourth, Ross, almost predictably, delivered the game's first run by lining an RBI single to left. And Huff followed with an RBI single of his own.

Bochy had put a lot of thought into this lineup, and his deep musings were rewarded.

"Last night, I sat on it, thought about it, and once I came in today, I knew which way I was going to go," he said. "We did discuss it quite a bit. But once I came to the park today, I had my mind made up which way we were going to go and who was playing and what order."

Alas, Bochy didn't have time to pat himself on the back. After all, he had to figure out what lineup he would pencil in for Game 4.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, CastroTurf. Follow @castrovince on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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