LOS ANGELES -- Having heard that a ninth-inning bunt by Yadier Molina in Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the Padres had elicited plenty of second-guessing, manager Mike Matheny spoke again on Thursday about what was behind Molina's decision and his endorsement of it.
As a refresher, the situation unfolded as follows: With the Cardinals down by one, Allen Craig led off the ninth with a double. Wanting more speed on the basepaths, Matheny swapped Craig for pinch-runner Adron Chambers. Molina advanced Chambers to third with a sacrifice bunt.
Each of the Cardinals' two chances to score Chambers then fell short. David Freese grounded out sharply to third and Skip Schumaker grounded out weakly to first.
Questions immediately surfaced as to why Matheny would call for Molina to bunt -- in other words, why he would seemingly be playing for a tie -- after taking his cleanup hitter out of the game. Matheny, who did not call for the bunt, said he still would have inserted Chambers even if he had known it was coming.
"We want to play for the win, obviously, on the road," Matheny said. "But we have to get the tie first."
As for the bunt, Matheny emphasized again on Thursday that he endorsed his catcher's decision. Said Matheny: "I 100 percent support what he did yesterday with everything put into the equation."
The biggest factor in that equation was Padres reliever Luke Gregerson and how tough Molina felt it would be to drive a ball off Gregerson to the right side. Laying down the bunt was seen as the safer option in advancing the runner. Also a factor was Molina's physical state. He has been dealing with several nagging injuries recently.
"There's a lot going against just being able to move a guy over in that situation," Matheny said. "And with all that being said, that's why I said it's a good baseball play. Yadi is one guy, in particular, that I give more freedom to than a lot of the other guys on this team, only because he puts so much effort into the thought process."