LOS ANGELES -- Carlos Villanueva is usually the Cubs' long man but on Saturday night, manager Rick Renteria called on the right-hander to face Drew Butera with two outs and a runner at third in the sixth inning of a tie game. It worked, as Butera popped up on the first pitch and the inning was over.
But Villanueva didn't stay in the game, which went 12 innings. The right-hander was lifted in the seventh for Brian Schlitter, who has been used in short relief. It was as if their roles were reversed. Renteria's reasoning?
One, Renteria said, was that starter Tsuyoshi Wada was tired at that point after throwing 103 pitches. But the batter was Butera, who was batting about .190. Renteria said he thought the Dodgers might pinch-hit for Butera.
"He gets one pitch, he gets an out," Renteria said of Villanueva.
Renteria didn't want to use one of his power arms against Butera, and knew he had lefty Chris Rusin as an option for long relief.
"Fortunately for us it worked out," Renteria said.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.