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#pounditMonday, October 26, 2020

Dusty Baker explains his ballsy decision with Zack Greinke in Game 4

Dusty Baker

The Houston Astros beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 in Game 4 of the ALCS at Petco Park in San Diego, Calif. on Wednesday to extend the series. A big turning point came when Astros manager Dusty Baker made a bold call to let Zack Greinke pitch his way out of a sixth inning jam.

Houston was leading 4-2 in the top of the sixth. Greinke got the first batter to ground out, and then Manuel Margot reached on a weak infield single. Austin Meadows followed with a line drive single, putting runners on first and second with one out. Randy Arozarena, who had a 2-run home run in the fourth, was coming up next.

Baker went out to talk with Greinke and was thinking of pulling the starter, who had a relatively elevated pitch count. But Baker decided to stick with Greinke after catcher Martin Maldonado argued in favor of his pitcher.

“I usually don’t change my mind, but I hadn’t had my mind really, really made up, until I got out there and I saw the look in Zack’s eyes,” Baker said after the game. “And (Maldonado) was adamant that he can get this guy. I said, ‘then you got it.’ It was more like old school and doing the thing that I thought was right, and we came out ahead.”

Greinke struck out Arozarena, then allowed another infield single to load the bases for Mike Brosseau. He struck out Brosseau on a 3-2 pitch to end the threat.

Baker’s decision paid off, as Houston was able to maintain their 4-2 lead in the inning. Tampa Bay made things very interesting with a run in the ninth and ended the game with the tying run on third.

The Rays still lead the series 3-1. Game 5 will be on Thursday.

If Houston had Baker managing them for Game 7 last year, they would have won the World Series.

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