Now Commenting On:

Chess Match: A's get best of Twins

Chess Match: A's get best of Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- This was a day when runs were scarce, not surprising considering who was pitching for both teams. Both managers had chances to manufacture runs. The choices they made turned out to be key decisions in Game 1.

Running from the start

The situation: Luis Castillo led off the Twins first with a walk against Barry Zito, bringing up Nick Punto.

The decision: Castillo, who stole 25 bases during the regular season and was caught 11 times, tried to steal second on a 2-2 pitch to Punto.

The outcome: Athletics catcher Jason Kendall threw out just 24.5 percent of attempted basestealers in the regular season, fifth-lowest in the league. But opponents were successful in just eight of 20 attempts when Barry Zito was on the mound. This time, Kendall threw out Castillo.

Manufacturing shortage

The situation: Frank Thomas led off the seventh with a single and Eric Chavez reached on shortstop Jason Bartlett's error, giving the Athletics two on with no outs against Twins starter Johan Santana.

The decision: The Athletics did nothing to try to manufacture an extra run, like pinch-run for Thomas or have Payton bunt the runners over.

The outcome: Payton popped out on the first pitch. Nick Swisher walked to load the bases. But Thomas stayed at third on Marco Scutaro's fly to center, and Mark Ellis flied out to end the inning. Of course, everything turned out great for the Athletics when Thomas hit his second home run of the game.

Where's the bunt?

The situation: Bartlett led off the eighth with a double for the Twins, who were trailing 2-1 at the time.

The decision: Castillo came up, missed on one attempted sacrifice bunt. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire then decided to have Castillo swing away.

The outcome: Castillo grounded out to third and Bartlett had to stay at second. Barry Zito then got out of the inning by getting Punto on a grounder to second and Joe Mauer on a liner to left.

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

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español