Texas tweaks lineup against lefty Garcia

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What’s the buzz? Tony La Russa outmanaged Ron Washington, that’s what. The Cardinals’ skipper used the perfect mix of relievers to keep the Texas Rangers off the scoreboard for the final three innings of Wednesday night’s World Series opener. And he lifted ace Chris Carpenter at just the right time, getting a pinch-hit single from Allen Craig that put St. Louis ahead for good, 3-2.

When Washington needed a big hit off the bench, he turned to Esteban German rather than Yorvit Torrealba. German, who hadn’t batted in 22 days, struck out to end the seventh inning, and the Texas offense was never heard from again.

Well, Washington tinkered a bit for Game 2. He changed his starting lineup, and that could put him in a better position to counter La Russa late in the game.

Craig Gentry gets the start in center field for the Rangers tonight, batting eighth against left-hander Jaime Garcia. Josh Hamilton shifts from center field to left, putting David Murphy on the bench.

Murphy is a quality left-handed hitter with plenty of experience in a part-time role. He has tough at-bats with runners on base and would be a good option as a pinch-hitter, especially against those right-handers in the St. Louis bullpen who have been so effective: Octavio Dotel, Fernando Salas, Lance Lynn and Jason Motte.

“I don’t think I can win a chess game against Tony,” Washington said before Game 2. “But you know, the best I can do is try to put my players in a position to be successful and hope that they execute, and if they execute, I think the chess matches take care of themselves.

“National League is a different type of game. There’s all kinds of moving parts, and once again, it just comes down to the players (executing) in whatever position you put them in, and last night, Craig executed and we didn’t,” he said.

Washington threw batting practice himself to Hamilton, who hasn’t homered in the postseason. Last year’s AL MVP went 0 for 4 in Game 1 and said his lingering groin injury is getting a bit worse.

If this were the regular season, he says he would probably be on the disabled list right now.

Game 2 starts in about an hour, with Colby Lewis on the mound for Texas against Garcia.

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