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10/16/07 2:24 AM ET

Chess Match: Smith comes through

Lifting pitcher for pinch-hitter produces big runs for Rockies

DENVER -- As he has throughout the postseason, Colorado manager Clint Hurdle continued to make all the right moves in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, from selecting the right pinch-hitter to deciding when to pull his starter, and as a result, the streaking Rockies are headed to the first World Series in franchise history.

Great call
The situation: Two outs and runners on second and third in the bottom of the fourth with the Rockies trailing, 2-1.

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The decision: Hurdle sends Seth Smith to the plate to pinch-hit for pitcher Franklin Morales.

The outcome: Smith bloops a two-run double down the left-field line to give the Rockies the lead.

The analysis: Morales had held the Diamondbacks to a run on five hits, but with two outs and two runners in scoring position, it was the right call to pull him with a chance to take the lead. And did Smith ever deliver.

"Down 0-2, I was just looking to get the barrel on the ball; when you make contact sometimes good things happen. It wasn't hit hard, but obviously I'll take it."
-- Smith

One on one
The situation: The Diamondbacks trailed, 6-4, with two outs and a runner at third in the eighth.

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The decision: Hurdle replaces left-hander Brian Fuentes with right-hander Manny Corpas, and Arizona manager Doug Melvin counters by sending switch-hitting slugger Tony Clark to pinch-hit.

The outcome: Corpas fans Clark to end the threat.

The analysis: Clark represented the tying run and certainly has the power to hit it out, but Corpas has been outstanding, so it was more favorable than Fuentes vs. the right-handed-hitting Jeff Cirillo.

"Manny's been doing the job for us all along and he did it again tonight."
-- Hurdle

No bunt, no problem
The situation: Arizona's Micah Owings on first with no outs in the top of the third.

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The decision: Chris Young and Stephen Drew swing away instead of sacrificing Owings into scoring position.

The outcome: Young lines out to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and Drew flies out, but Conor Jackson picks up both with an RBI single after Eric Byrnes walks.

The analysis: The Diamondbacks entered the game 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position, but having scored only four runs in three games, giving up outs wasn't an attractive option, either.

"Stephen, that's an easy one. He's my only left-handed bat there in the inning. It's going to be a fastball. He has a chance to tie the game. If that's not the tying run, then I obviously don't let him swing, but right there you know you're going to get a fastball, you know you're going to get a pitch to drive."
-- Melvin

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