On the rally and win
“It’s setting up for another bad day at the yard but we haven’t quit yet this year, no matter how far we’ve been behind and we got paid off for our persevereance today.”
Was it a must-win in your mind?
“I wouldn’t characterize it as a must-win. Technically I say they’re all must-wins. That’s the way I go about it. That’s my mentality. I go out there expecting to win every day. But for whatever reason it hadn’t been happening for us lately. And I’m glad I got an opportunity there in the ninth, an opportunity to win the ball game and came through. It was a huge win for a club that was a little down in the dumps from the way we’ve been playing lately.”
On foreshadowing for game, talking about wanting to be at plate with game on the line
“You know, there were a lot of things that happened before my at-bat. The guys that have to set the table in order for the game to end like that. We had some great at-bats, whether it was Mikey’s walk or Reed leading off the inning, or Prado having a great at-bat, putting a tough pitch in play that they couldn’t make a play on. Just a lot of things go into that type of inning. We finally caught a break in the ninth inning. The Phillies, I don’t think they made a routine out all weekend. Everything they hit found a hole, everything was an in-between hop for us. Everything we hit hard was at somebody, and we finally caught a break in the ninth inning of the last game and made it pay off.”
After Prado’s hit, were you thinking ‘I can end it right here’?
“Uh, to be honest with you, I was just trying to center the fastball. I didn’t really at that point care where it went because I knew if I got (a base hit) into the outfield and it hit it hard somewhere that Prado would score, tie the game and it’s a whole new ball game. Obviously when you’re thinking about just cutting down on your swing and doing what you have to do to center 95 mph and you do center it? Sometimes things happen. It was certainly another one of those games I’ll never forget.”
On what this win could do for ball club going forward
“It’s huge for us from the standpoint that wins have been hard to come by lately and sometimes you need to go out and win a game that you probably should have lost, or we definitely should have lost, with the way we started the game. And lo and behold everybody comes in here nice and fresh and with a little pep in their step tomorrow morning and we’ve got another team coming in and should have some success again and hopefully this starts something that can propel us forward instead of getting stuck in the mud or taking a step backward like we have been.”
Where does this ranks with the season of moments you’ve had?
“It’s right up there. I do know where to rank it. I thought the first walk-off against those guys was a special one. If there is such a thing as being a better one that that one, then this was probably it.”
On what gave him sense it would be another fastball
“Because he blew the second one right by me. I don’t know. That’s kind of what I would have been thinking. You certainly don’t want to get beat on your second or third best pitch. He throws 95 mph and he’s pretty deceptive. The second one got by me, but it was up. And at that point, I just said to myself ‘I just got to get him down in the zone, not swing at a ball at the letters’ and like I said try and center it. Cut down on the swing and try and center it, let him provide all the power.”
When did hit you you had just hit another walk-off in a game against the Phillies you probably shouldn’t have won?
“It probably wasn’t until after the mob scene at home plate. It’s that euphoric state that you kind of get lost in and time kind of stands still and you’re not really thinking about any of that other stuff. It’s just that you’re thrilled that you won the game. And then obviously once we got done caking me with mud and water and everything, it all starts to sink in.”
That still as much fun as it’s ever been?
“Ah, nothing beats that. That’s as good as it gets for a baseball player, being able to walk off the field, especially in our situation where we were just really down and out since about the fourth hitter of the game. And feeling like this was going to be a sweep and going to have to listen to everybody say stuff and you know, just the ability to chip away. The bullpen did a good job of keeping it at 7-1, 7-3 and giving us an opportunity there in the ninth to string something together.”
Team hasn’t had many rallies like that lately
“Right, but you never know when it’s going to come. It can come at any time, man. We don’t really give up on ourselves. We play until the last out is done. We just kept pecking away. We were down 7-1, but it’s baseball, man. You’ve got to keep playing.
“They got us the first night like that. It was only 1[-run deficit they overcame]. Ours was a little more miraculous.”
On winning that game
“You can’t say anything. You’re kind of speechless, the way it was going. We just don’t give up. We keep scrapping, every at-bat, and we were able to come through. In the end we were able to get the victory. No. 10 came through, man. He’s the man of the hour.”
He’s done that a few times, hasn’t he?
“Yeah, but I’m telling you it never gets old. Never. That’ll never gets old.”
On importance of win
“A win like that can change the roll of the team. We weren’t playing bad, we were just losing some tough games. You love those kind of games to hopefully get the ball rolling. Hopefully we can do that with that win. It was big. You want to carry over something like that. We’re going to enjoy this one for a little bit, but we’ve got an early game tomorrow to prepare for. We’ll be back tomorrow, ready to play.”
On the win
“Got to give a lot of credit to the bullpen. They didn’t take anything for granted. They kept battling, guys made great plays – Mikey B’s jump against the wall saved a lot of runs, just a lot of good things went on after the first couple of innings.”
On guys playing banged up
“Look at Chipper. What is he, 90 now? That guy plays like he’s 22. What a player.”
What was being said in dugout after he hit the homer?
“Everybody’s just like, ‘I can’t believe we won that game.’ Everybody’s like, really? That’s unbelievable.”
On Chipper’s series of big moments this year
“It’s unbelievable. The guy is making stories that I’m going to tell my kids. Like, he’s giving me ammo for the rest of my career. I’m going to tell all my buddies sitting around drinking a beer one day, ‘I remember that time Chipper walked off Philly twice.’ Know what I mean?
On if sure he can’t talk Chipper into one more year
“He comes up big and times when you need somebody to come up big. Unbelievable. He is what he is. He’s going to be a Hall-of-Famer. Not too many guys can do that kind of stuff. Thank God that we got in that position to make him do that. We battled the whole game. Our bullpen did a hell of a job, keeping those guys to seven runs in the first three innings, and we just kind of kept grinding and grinding and kept kind of hanging around offensively. We hung around because of what the bullpen did for us. We got good at-bats from Janish, from Prado, from Johnson, who had three hits, Michael Bourn, Heyward. A lot of good at-bats.”
On three straight fastballs to Chipper
“I don’t even know what the pitch was but it’s a tough spot there with putting him on or not putting him on. You’ve got your closer. What are you telling your closer if you put him on there. You can’t get this guy out? And by the way, the guy behind him ain’t chopped liver either. It’s a tough spot, and I’m glad that he delivered. This is a much-needed win after the one on Friday night. This one is nice.”
On if ninth inning is something that could propel this team
“This is something I think we need right here. This is the something to get the juices flowing again and get the team going again. He stepped up again. Good for us.”
On if thinking maybe Chipper does it again in ninth (after Chipper’s walkoff vs. Phils in May)
“I’m just thinking keep the line moving is what I’m thinking. I’m thinking OK we’ve got Freeman on deck and behind him is Rossy. That kind of stuff. I never think that way. I never think three-run homer. I never think it’s the last out of the ninth with a one-run lead, you’ve got to finish out the game.”
On this adding to season Chipper is having
“It’s unbelievable. And there’s a play there earlier, he hurt himself a little bit. He looked a little gingerly the rest of the night. We’ll check with him tomorrow. I have a tendency to give him an off day tomorrow because of the short turnaround and keep him fresh because that’s important. It was a nice win though.”
On Chipper saying before the game, he wants to be the guy at the plate with two outs, bottom of the ninth
“I want him at the plate too. I agree with him.”
On Maholm struggling with command
“He just sprayed the ball around a little bit and really I think Howard hit the ball hard against him but everybody else dinked some balls, which I would take dinks also, the last five or six days. That first inning took a lot out of him. High pitch count, he just couldn’t recover from that. But again the rest of the guys did a terrific job keeping us right there.”
On having extra guys making it easier to go to bullpen
“Yes. [I’d said in San Diego last week] I was proponent of not having 30 guys. I was No. 1 cheering the flag. [But] It’s definitely an advantage. And we almost ran out of pitching. If that ball doesn’t go out, we got about five more innings because we used three of our long men just to stay in the game with Avilan, Batista and Martinez. It was a nice one to win.”
– Quotes compiled by Carroll Rogers and David O’Brien