On Medlen’s performance
“He gave us everything we wanted him to. He was trying to talk us into going one more inning, but no chance. He goes back (to start) on Sunday, and we’ll add another 20-25 pitches to his outing and hopefully get us deeper in the ballgame.”
On the win
“We had five guys with multi-hits today. Two nights in a row we’ve had to cover four innings out of the bullpen and we gave up one run yesterday and nothing today….
“We swung the bats well and pitched well, that’s a good combination. What did we turn, three or four double plays? Four with the one in the outfield. Those guys up the middle are doing a fantastic job, [Paul] Janish and Danny [Uggla].”
On team being 18-8 in July, much of the offense due to McCann
“Well, yeah. McCann, Heyward, Freeman _ that middle of the lineup is really clicking _ and Chipper when he’s in there. And you plug in Francisco every time Chipper needs a breather and he goes out and gives a tremendous performance offensively.
On Medlen not being overwhelmed
“He’s a baseball player. He likes to compete. He just happens to be a pitcher. I love the mound presence, I love getting the ball, back on the rubber, ‘Here it is,’ throw it. Murphy hits a home run on the third, fourth pitch of the game and that didn’t bother him. Here it is, hit another one. I like that. I like the tempo that he showed on the mound and he’s got an opportunity, with Tommy [Hanson] going on the DL, maybe get two or three starts and see what he can do.”
On his efficiency, 57 pitches in five innings
“Yeah, and he was trying to talk us into going back out. We weren’t going to let him do that.”
Would he have gone another inning if no rain delay?
“No, he was done after five. It’s not the pitch count, it’s sometimes going up and down, up and down [between innings]. And that last inning, Roger [McDowell] said I think he’s struggling a little bit now. So I think it was a good outing, for him to go on to the next one.”
On Jurrjens pitching scoreless ninth after being demoted
“He’s been great [handling the situation]. We didn’t want to use Kimbrel in that spot. We gave [Jurrjens] plenty [of time] to get warming up. As soon as O’Flaherty took the field in the eighth, he’s not used to that so we told him, ‘OK, you’ve got the ninth, so get loose.’ He did a nice job. In those situations the last thing you want to do is bring in a guy that’s not going to throw strikes, and he didn’t do that. He came in and pounded the zone, got a double play to end the game. And that’s good.”
Difficult to control any excitement/emotion?
“Honestly no. Compared to 2010 when I got the opportunity to start, I felt so much more calm this time. I think it helped me a lot. The only time I felt rushed was when I kind of felt like it might have been my last inning, when I walked Buck, I felt really quick and fast and I started pulling stuff. I just stepped back and told myself to slow down and I didn’t look up at the pitch count too much, just kind of tried to execute that pitch at that time and I think I did OK.”
On throwing a lot of strikes
“Sometimes that hurts me, and sometimes it doesn’t. When I get to execute my pitches when they are strikes, it works out. I thought Mac called a great game. We talked about it before and we just executed, went in and out on righties and lefties and stuck to the fastball pretty much. I think I threw a pretty good bit of fastballs. I was lucky enough to locate them. If you throw that many you probably should be able to locate them. If not, that’s when you get hit around a little bit. I got a couple double-play balls that helped me too. Defense helped me out behind me, and we put up some runs which is good.”
On emotions of first start back
“I was so much more calm. Like, if you asked me than the first start I had in 2010 or even my first start of my career it would have been completely different, but I just felt like I was in control. I was trying to pound the zone. I knew I had a pitch count but I wasn’t too worried about it. I just knew I had to be efficient and I was throwing strikes and Mac called a great game.”
Did you feel like you could have gone another inning?
“Even before it started raining they told me I was done and I was trying to talk them into letting me go back out but he just said ‘Good job. That’s all we needed from you. See you Sunday.’”
Nice to know you have another start coming Sunday?
“My career, I’ve taken it a day at a time and it’s just been different every day. So the fact that I get another start is good for me. And I’m happy about it. I’m glad it worked out for us today and we kept the win streak going and all that.”
On whether, if he hadn’t walked John Buck to start 5th, he might have talked them into another inning
“No, I don’t think so. I think they were expecting me to hopefully get five and I did. I kept my pitch count pretty low which is what I hoped I would do just so I can see if I could talk them into letting me go back out. But I didn’t want another at-bat; that’s for sure.”
On if it was a challenge reacquainting with getting up, getting down, lasting that long
“I do think that getting sent down to stretch out helped me out a little bit because I was mentally going through that when I did have to go down. I was like ‘Man, I have to get up again. I got to get up again.’ I felt calm the entire time. When I needed to make a pitch I think I executed it well and defense played well behind me.”
“That guy impresses me all the time. I worked out with him this offseason. He’s such an athlete. We’d throw the football around and he doesn’t drop a pass. He’s one of those guys that’s an unbelievable athlete; he can do anything.
“They’ve thrown a lot at him this year. They’ve asked him to start, relieve, got to the minor leagues and come back. To keep your mental makeup and your mental toughness, that says a lot about who he is. He’s here to help this team win, and that performance right there – he started right where he left off in 2010. He was one of our best starters in 2010, but he got hurt. Picked it up tonight and he was right there again.”
On gaining a game finally on Nationals
“Yeah, it seems like they don’t lose. This is the best baseball we’ve played this year, and those guys are playing great too. They seem to win all the time, so to win and them lose [the same day], that’s big for us. We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing, putting together great at-bats, getting great starting pitching, and our bullpen speaks for itself, in my opinion.”
On his hot stretch of hitting in July
“I’ve been feeling good for a while now. The first half was … I have a lot of making up to do. So hopefully this next month I just keep going.”
On getting early leads in during the recent surge
“We have a really, really deep lineup. You look up and down our lineup, when Chipper’s in there and everybody’s in there – and Juan Francisco, when he’s playing he’s getting hot. D-Ross is killing it. We’ve got guys that are playing extremely well. You talk about us getting on pitchers – we have a deep lineup. Dan Uggla’s hitting seventh and he’s hit 30 homers five or six years in a row. That just shows you how deep we are.”
– Staff writer Carroll Rogers contributed to this report