On missed scoring chances
“We had some opportunities. We had, what, first and second with one out, and Mac rolled into a double play. And bases loaded with two out and Freeman rolled over one. But yeah, it’s hard to win ballgames with two hits and one run. Pauly [Braves starter Paul Maholm] was outstanding. He really was.
“I thought the ball Simmons hit early in the game [to the left-field wall] had a chance. I thought that had more of a chance than the one that Marte hit [home run] to center; I thought maybe that would go off the wall, but it cleared the fence.”
More on Maholm
“Pauly was outstanding. A right-handed dominant lineup, and he gave up what, five hits and two runs? He did a nice job. He deserves a better fate, but we just didn’t get the bats going.”
Encouraged by Maholm’s recent starts?
“He’s been terrific. I feel like you’ve got a real good chance to win every time he goes out there.”
On lack of offense, even during the winning surge
“Yeah. Maybe now we give these guys a day off, maybe play some of the bench and get those guys going. They need some at-bats too. You don’t want to give [regulars] three days off before our next game Friday, but maybe we can get a couple of guys an at-bat here or there and get them out of the game.”
On former Braves prospect Jeff Locke, who got his first career win
“Somebody said that he was drafted by us. Did he come over in the McLouth trade? [He’s] pretty good. He had that one little [problem in third] where he walked a couple of guys and we got a run off of him. But other than that I thought he did a nice job mixing pitches and sneaky-fast, guys couldn’t get a good [read]. They were coming back saying the fastball sneaks up on them.”
“I thought he was decent. I thought he was better than decent – I thought he was pretty good.”
On NL East title hopes ending
“I’m proud of the guys. Ten days ago we were eight or nine games back, and the Nationals came in and we swept them. We just kept battling. But it was going to be difficult. We just didn’t have any games to play against them, so it would have almost had to be a perfect ending for us, and then the other way [Nationals lose all their games, too].
“It’s something we shoot for and we didn’t get it. We’ve got the Wild Card game. There’s been many teams that go through the wild card to win the World Series. So we’ll take it one game at a time.”
On at least now being able to rest guys now before the Wild Card game
“Yes, we’ll do that. We’ll get guys like Baker some at-bats, get maybe Johnson and Francisco, get those guys some at-bats. Maybe Hinske, Overbay.”
Anything in particular Locke was doing to make him effective?
“He struggled with command; he was effectively wild. Got himself into a couple of jams, but he didn’t throw anything fat over the plate where we could get good swings on him. Typical first time seeing a guy, not knowing tendencies. You watch film on him and he threw a lot of fastballs on film. And he got out there tonight and he couldn’t command his fastball, so he threw more breaking balls and off-speed stuff. It was just kind of hard to get a gauge on what he was trying to do out there. He kept us off-balance. Not too many balls hit hard at all tonight.”
Been winning, but without many runs most nights. Is it a concern?
“Lack of offense is always a concern. But quite honestly you can’t control when you’re seeing it good, when you’re swinging it good. I can’t speak for the rest of the guys, they may feel great. I don’t feel particularly good at the plate. But it’s up to me to fix it before Friday.”
On not winning division, disappointment?
“We wanted to go out and win the division. It’s a little disappointing that we’re going to finish second. But we live on past Wednesday. It was going to be a tough row to hoe anyway – three down with three to play is never the situation you want to be in. But it is what it is now. We play Friday. Now our concentration should be getting ourselves ready for Friday night, or Friday afternoon or whatever it is.”
On Marte’s ball carrying for homer and Simmons’ getting caught at wall
“I was standing on deck and I thought Simmons’ [fly ball] was well out, and it didn’t go. And Marte’s – it was a bad pitch. I didn’t think he crushed it. Obviously he got enough of it to get out. I made a couple of bad pitches to Marte and he hit a [triple] and the home run, and the one to Cutch [McCutchen] wasn’t where I wanted it.
“For the most part I did what I wanted. Obviously I’d rather not give up the two runs, but you go seven and give up two, most of the time you’re going to come out pretty good.”
Feel good about the last few starts you’ve had?
“Yeah, definitely. You go through rough patches and I had a couple that were bad. You understand, you learn from them and you move on. Here lately I’ve been executing my pitches and pretty much keeping the ball in the yard, getting ground balls. It just seemed like the second time through tonight they were sitting off-speed. I hung a couple and they took advantage of it.”