Leyland regrets considering bunt with Santiago

Leyland regrets considering bunt with Santiago

DETROIT -- For all practical purposes, Jim Leyland's question over whether to bunt the potential winning run over to second base in the ninth inning Thursday was academic, since the signal never got to Ramon Santiago at the plate and Santiago swung away. Still, Leyland said, the question over whether to go for the win or tie the game stuck with him all night.

He had a different conclusion Friday than he did after Thursday's 4-3 loss to the Yankees.

"I thought about it all night, and I came to the conclusion I [messed] up one thing: I should have never even thought about bunting Santiago," Leyland said.

He didn't change his thoughts on how the inning played out from there. With no outs, he was not going to call for a squeeze bunt, nor was he going to have Omar Infante try to steal second and risk a line-drive double play. Nor was he going to use either of the two hitters on the bench, Delmon Young or Jeff Baker, to pinch-hit in that situation.

"All we needed was contact, anywhere on the ground. Contact, or fly ball, contact anywhere, and we get the tying run in," Leyland said. "And I was worried about the strikeout, because that guy's [Rafael Soriano] real nasty."

The big regret, he said, was thinking about having Santiago bunt, and planting the idea in Santiago's head beforehand that they might call for the bunt.

"When he went up there, I said look for this first pitch to hit, just like he did to Infante," Leyland said. "We didn't bunt, but I knew he'd lay something in there thinking we were bunting. And I told Santi the same thing. Well, he took the first pitch, and I was actually trying to get the bunt on, which we didn't. But I should've just let him [hit], because I told him afterwards that he might bunt.

"We had the tying run. If he just hits a ground ball or a fly ball or anything, we've got the tying run. I should've just let him think about hitting all the way, not even mention bunt."