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White Sox manager Tony La Russa says the costly decision to intentionally run Trea Turner 1-2 ‘was not a difficult decision’

White Sox manager Tony La Russa says the costly decision to intentionally run Trea Turner 1-2 ‘was not a difficult decision’

White Sox manager Tony La Russa said while Max Muncy opened the game with a three-run homer in the sixth inning after ordering an intentional walk to Trea Turner with a 1-2 count in the loss Chicago’s 11-9 loss against Los Angeles Dodgers Thursday, he defended the thinking behind the call.

Down 6-5 after Freddie Freeman hit an RBI single into sixth left-hander Bennett Sousa, who then bounced an 0-2 slider for a wild pitch that lifted Freeman into second, La Russa ordered the intentional march to the right- Turner, batter in hand, who had scored a single in a run to fifth.

“He’s got two takes, Tony!” shouted a fan.

Muncy, whose two-run double over Dylan Cease put the Dodgers ahead 5-4 in the fifth, worked the count to 2-2 and cut a slider to opposite field and into the left field seats, his fourth home run this season.

La Russa said after the game that he didn’t think he did anything wrong.

“Is there a question whether it was a good decision or not?” said La Russa, a 77-year-old Hall of Famer. “Do you know what [Turner] hit against a left-handed pitcher with 0-1 or two hits? Do you know what Muncy hits with two strikes against a left-handed pitcher? Is it really a question? We had an open base and Muncy was the guy behind him and it’s a better game.

“Someone disagrees, that’s the beauty of this game, they’re welcome. But it wasn’t a difficult decision.”

According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Turner is a career .254 hitter after going 1-2 against a left-handed pitcher, and this season he’s hitting .333 (5 for 15) in such situations.

Muncy, who had five RBIs in his return after missing 11 games with an inflamed left elbow, came in batting .150 to Turner’s .303.

“The baseball spirit in me gets it,” Muncy said. “Obviously my year has sucked so far. Trea has been really good.”

“At the moment I was animated and I’ll leave it at that,” added Muncy. “But at the same time, I don’t know if walking someone with two strikes is always the right decision.

“It kind of gave me something that I haven’t really had much this year. In the past, I’ve always been the guy who [was] very fiery and had plenty of edge. Getting that back was really good, to be honest.

Turner, for his part, said he was taken aback by La Russa’s unorthodox decision.

“I was just confused,” Turner said. “I didn’t know if I should go first or not, but I guess they liked the game.”

Chicago closed late with two runs against Daniel Hudson, who needed 35 pitches to pass the ninth, but it wasn’t enough for the White Sox to avoid loss to the Dodgers. With two out and one out, Yasmani Grandal came out, and pinch hitter Gavin Sheets followed with a game-ending strikeout.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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