Leyland could have gone with a right-handed DH, such as Brandon Inge, who hit the game-winning homer on Monday. Or he could have gone with righty Jhonny Peralta, who opened the Kansas City series with a 3-for-4 performance that included two doubles. But Inge was 1-for-23 lifetime against Chen and Peralta was 2-for-18.
And Dirks rewarded Leyland's hunch, delivering a key single to start the eighth-inning rally and scoring the go-ahead run in a 3-1 victory over the Royals.
"I just think my lefties have a better chance against Chen," Leyland said. "I've been thinking about this for days. I had two guys who won the game for us [Monday] in Peralta and Inge. I think lefties have a better shot.
"To me, that's managing. If I didn't do what my gut told me tonight, I would just be pacifying the public. That's not the way I manage. Win, lose or draw in this game tonight, I know this is the best way to go."
Dirks, who batted No. 9 in the order, came in 1-for-2 against Chen.