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Q&A with Gary Sheffield: Game 2
10/07/2004 2:06 AM ET
NEW YORK -- Gary Sheffield was one of three Yankees to hit home runs in New York's dramatic 7-6 win over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night in Game 2 of the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium.

Sheffield's homer was his only hit, as he went 1-for-5, but the Yankees pulled out their 62nd comeback win of the season with two runs against Joe Nathan in the 12th inning.

After the game, Sheffield talked with's Mark Feinsand to talk about his homer, Alex Rodriguez's big game and what the win means to his ballclub. Was this game an example of what they always talk about with the Yankee Stadium magic?

Sheffield: Absolutely. You can't describe what this victory means tonight for our ballclub. We came out feeling like we were going to win the game after Jeter's home run in the first. The Twins plucked away, got a couple of runs, then we took a lead and they fought back, which shows what kind of ballclub they have. But we kept fighting back, too, which shows what kind of ballclub we have, because we didn't give up. He's going to get lost in this game, but what did you think of Jon Lieber's first postseason start?

Sheffield: He was outstanding. I've said all along when people were doubting him that his stuff was good. I can tell from right field when a guy has something on his fastball, and he's been pitching great for us. You hit your first playoff home run as a Yankee. What was that like for you?

Sheffield: It was the best feeling I've ever had. To tie the score in a game like this, our backs against the wall, give us a chance to win the game, it felt great. Mariano Rivera and Tom Gordon have had so much success for you this season, so what was it like to watch that eighth inning unravel?

Sheffield: We know that no pitcher is invincible. Any time they struggle and give up runs, we as an offense have to come back and give them another chance. (Tanyon) Sturtze pitched great for us, and after the home run by Torii (Hunter), we had to wake our offense up again. Even though he allowed the home run to Hunter, how big was Sturtze's performance for the team?

Sheffield: He's been doing that all year for us. Without him, I'm not sure we'd have survived. He's started, come out of the bullpen, done just about everything. He's been a horse for us. What's going through your mind when Torii Hunter hits his home run in the 12th inning?

Sheffield: You can't just concede a win because they got a lead. We felt that if we got a guy on, we were going to win this ballgame. We knew that Nathan was laboring out there. Knowing yourself, how much pressure comes with being a star player in New York and how happy were you to see the kind of game A-Rod had tonight?

Sheffield: It's huge. That's what I've wanted to see from him all year. This is the Alex everybody is used to seeing. He's the best player in baseball, and he showed it tonight. Derek Jeter hits the leadoff homer, then scores the winning run on a very shallow sac fly. How does his aggressive style of play set the tone for your team?

Sheffield: It makes everyone else aggressive. You see guys like Bernie [Williams] trying to steal bases, even as old as he is. We take pride in winning, and Jeter's our leader. Were you surprised he took off on that shallow fly?

Sheffield: Not at all. I knew he was going all the way. You have to catch it and make a good throw, and as aggressive as Jeter is, he's going to find a way to get that run in. Is this the kind of win that can carry some momentum for you guys in Minnesota?

Sheffield: No question. Everybody knows how loud that dome is, and as good as that ballclub is, we have to just take on one game at a time. We feel very good about ourselves.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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