On Hudson’s performance
“He was great. That’s what he is, a groundball machine. He did it today efficiently, too. Right at 100 pitches for 7-2/3 innings. He just couldn’t get Upton to make an out against him. But he was terrific.”
On crazy bases-loaded play that ended 8th inning
“That eighth inning was a little interesting. We bring in Jonny to get those left-handers, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen an inning in the major leagues end the way that inning ended, but we’ll take it. We won’t give it back.”
On getting Price’s pitch count over 120 in seven innings
“Especially our left-handers, Heyward had some great at-bats against him. And early on in the game we had some good at-bats, drove in two runs. He’s pretty stingy giving up runs. We got him out of there with the high pitch count. That’s a nice ball team they’ve got there. I know they’ve got some guys on the DL and they’re waiting to get healthy, but that’s a helluva pitching staff.”
On Ross coming through with homer on McCann’s day off
“He does that. You look at his numbers, he doesn’t have very many at-bats, but he gets five or six home runs playing part time. It’s nice to have that type of a backup for McCann.”
On beating an ace in Price
“Good for us that we battle, no matter who’s on the mound. Now we’ve got to figure out Cobb and Blanton and those guys. But it’s nice to win, to come out of here with two out of three. Now we get on the bird and go to Cincinnati.”
Any concern about Venters
“Yeah, I mean, I said to Rossy, you’ve got three left-handers [coming to bat], if you don’t get [ahead] in the count, don’t give him. We’ve got three left-handers — I didn’t mean for him to face all three. [Laughs].
“But it’s just mechanical. He’s flying open and his arm drags and he chases those lefties. But we’ll get it fixed.”
On the eighth inning
“Leaving balls up. My arm’s dragging a little bit. Got lucky. We were lucky. At first I didn’t know what had happened. I started to run after the ball, I didn’t know what had happened. But we got lucky and won the game. A win’s a win.”
Fredi said problem is just mechanical
“Yeah, my arm feels great. I feel great. I’m just not finishing my pitches. It’s kind of running away from me. I’ve just got to work on getting it down. Just have to make an adjustment that I wasn’t able to make today.”
“They were just bad pitches to both guys I hit. I felt good, though. And to come out of here with two wins is huge.”
Ton of groundballs today, was sinker working from outset?
“I felt good in the ‘pen with it. The sinker has been the key for me all year, just locating it down in the zone. I was able to mix it in and out today and keep them off-balance with some cutters and some curveballs. It’s really not much of a secret – I just go out there and try to make pitches down, and try to keep those guys behind me in the game and keep them getting as much action as they can. If I can do that, usually we’re OK.”
“Obviously we had a little bit of luck with some defensive plays today, and they had a chance to score some runs but we were able to wiggle out of some jams.”
You enjoy rising to challenge against a guy like David Price?
“He’s been great all year and his whole career. You know the runs were going to be tough to come by. Rossy was able to barrel one on him and give us a nice little lead, which for any pitcher, any lead against a front-line starter is always nice to have. Honestly I didn’t think we were going to get a whole lot more after that. We were able to scratch one more and that two-run lead felt like it was an eight-run lead, just because you didn’t expect to get a whole lot today.”
On watching the eighth inning unfold
“We had some baseball gods on our side. We’ve had plenty of times where it went the wrong way for us, so it’s nice to finally be on the positive side of a crazy play like that, which essentially sealed the win for us.”
On David Ross
“He’s obviously the best backup catcher in the game, there’s no question about that. He could be starting for most teams. He does a great job. I love throwing to him. I’ve always enjoyed throwing to him, from way back in our college days. He catches and throws, calls a great game, and takes a lot of pride when he is back there behind the plate, to call a great game and not only have some good at-bats but help that pitcher get through some quality innings.”
On getting out of bases-loaded jam on Pena flyout to track in sixth
“Obviously you’re in a little bit of a pickle there, facing one of their power guys with the bases loaded. I’d lost a little bit of aggressiveness that got me in the jam a little bit. That was the ballgame for me, I had to make some pitches. I didn’t make a great pitch to him; I think it was an 0-1 curveball. It wasn’t the best of curveballs, but I was able to get off into the bat a little bit I think, and he just missed it. Could have been a different ballgame. But you have to be careful with that guy; he’ll nuke one on you in a second, and it could have been a 4-2 lead for the bad guys if he just centers it a little bit more.”
On Hudson winning pitchers’ duel
“That was nice, wasn’t it? Huddy, it’s never a surprise when he goes out and pitches well. We rely on him to be our guy, our stopper, our ace, whatever you want to call it. I love catching him. He’s a great teammate and has huge … he competes, know what I’m saying? He’s one of the best competitors I’ve ever played with. He threw good and guys battled at the plate. We beat a good pitcher today.”
On getting Price’s pitch count up
“Guys battled. We took a lot of borderline pitches, close pitches. We worked him. We didn’t knock him all over the yard, but we did a good job competing and giving tough at-bats. That’s what we do. Our guys have done a great job of not giving away at-bats. We don’t give away a lot of at-bats. And for the core of this team being young with Heyward and Freeman and Pastornicky, the group that we go with for the most part, they don’t give away at-bats for the most part. It’s fun to watch as an older player.”
What pitch were you looking for and what’d you get (on homer)?
“I was looking for a heater. I mean, he throws so hard you’ve got to respect his heater. He throws 97 [mph], it moves all over the place. He’s a tough pitcher to face, but he’s a little easier for righties, I would say, than lefties. His ball moves so much. I was looking for something hard and he just threw a little backdoor slider and I got good barrel on it. I don’t go opposite field too much, but I just caught it deep, real late. Just kind of threw my hands on it and it got good barrel.”
On how good it feels to contribute as backup when you start
“In my role with the Braves, backing up B-Mac is a treat because when I go in there I go 120 percent and give it all I’ve got. I know I’ve got tomorrow off, no matter what. So if I can keep him out of the game and help us win, that’s my goal. I want to help this team win and keep B-Mac fresh down the stretch.”
On the eighth-inning play
“There was a little luck going our way. It was nice to see. It hit Pena. They did a good job off Jonny; Jonny was a little amped up, flying open a little bit. But he settled down and Luke Scott hit a good pitch. Hit it hard, and it was right at Pena. I was so excited. It was nice, because they have fast outfielders and that ball might have got through. I don’t know if Uggla was going to be able to knock it down. So we got a little luck our way, and it was fun.”
You think you’d have gotten that hot grounder in eighth (that hit Pena)?
“I don’t know. I would have had to dive for it, so I don’t know. I was pretty happy when I saw it hit him though. I’m not going to lie.”
Didn’t appear that Pena was looking at ball
“He hit it hard, and it was heat-seeking. Got him.”
Ever see anything like that?
“Yeah, I’ve let a ball hit me before, like a tailor-made double play, that kind of thing. In that situation, obviously, it’s one of those unfortunate things for them, fortunate for us. It’s about time something went right in our direction, you know?”
Baseball gods smiled upon the Braves for a day?
“Oh, man, that was unbelievable.”
RAYS’ CARLOS PENA
On grounder hitting him to end eighth inning
“The right thing to do there is to go on the swing. So as soon as the hitter has intent to swing, we’re going. That’s the way we do it over here, and the way we should run the bases. That caught me in mid-stride. I haven’t seen the video but it’s just a helpless feeling because I couldn’t go anywhere; I think I was in the air when the ball hit me. It was a rocket. It’s just bad luck.
“It’s crazy if you stop and think about it. If I run less aggressively or run the wrong way or I’m be lackadaisical, I’d be able to stop and back off of that and we’d score two runs. I think there we get penalized for running the bases correctly.”