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Q&A with Gary Sheffield: Game 3
10/09/2004 2:50 AM ET
MINNEAPOLIS -- Gary Sheffield and the New York Yankees are one win away from an ALCS showdown with the Boston Red Sox, having defeated the Minnesota Twins, 8-4, at the Metrodome on Friday night.

Sheffield went 2-for-4 in the game, as the Yankees out-hit the Twins, 14-12, in the victory. Bernie Williams and Hideki Matsui each homered in the game, while Derek Jeter drove in three runs on three hits.

After the game, Sheffield talked with's Mark Feinsand about the win, Kevin Brown's performance and his approach against Johan Santana in Saturday's Game 4. You have known Kevin Brown for a long time. How nice was it for you to see him give a performance like that?

Sheffield: That's what I predicted all along. When you push his back up against a wall, when he has to prove something, that brings out the best in him. He showed again why he's Kevin Brown. What was your approach against Carlos Silva tonight?

Sheffield: You try to put pressure on him early. [Catcher Henry] Blanco made a great throw to second to get me [trying to steal in the first inning], but we tried to put as much pressure on Silva as possible. In an atmosphere like this, you don't want to make mistakes. Bernie Williams has had a rough series, hitting into four double plays, but he came up with a big home run in the sixth. How important is he to this team?

Sheffield: When we saw him swinging last weekend in Toronto, Mr. Torre said, 'He's got it going now.' That's the Bernie everybody is accustomed to seeing, tapping his front foot and spinning out of there. He doesn't have that high leg kick going anymore. He's quiet at the plate, and any time he's hitting like that, it makes our lineup that much more dangerous. Derek Jeter had three more hits and three more RBIs in Game 3. Does he ever stop amazing you in October?

Sheffield: That's the guy. Like I've said before, when our backs were against the wall in Game 2 and he was at the plate, then on base, I knew we were going to win the ballgame. He always comes through in these situations. Unlike the first two games of the series, Game 3 was not close the whole way. Did it feel good to have some room to breathe?

Sheffield: Those are the times where you try to create things. We had a hit-and-run and Bernie ended up going deep. When you have a lead, you can go after it a little bit, be more aggressive. We can take that into tomorrow's game. The Twins rallied in the ninth, but you had already been taken out for an inning of rest. What was it like watching that from the dugout?

Sheffield: That's when I came into the clubhouse and put my coaching shoes on. I put my turf shoes on and came back to the dugout. Now I see what Mr. Torre goes through. You will face Johan Santana in Game 4, just four days after he shut your team out over seven innings. What do you guys have to do in order to get to him?

Sheffield: We have to make him work. We know that we got to their bullpen pretty good today, so we have to try to get his pitch count up and put the pressure on them. If they go to the bullpen, we feel pretty good about ourselves. Javier Vazquez makes his first career postseason start in Game 4. Do you think he'll be nervous?

Sheffield: I don't think so. He's in the same situation that Kevin was, wanting to go out and prove why he came here, why the Yankees traded for him. I think he'll come through for us in a big way. The Red Sox clinched a trip to the ALCS with their sweep of the Angels on Friday. Are you guys thinking about a possible matchup with them, seeing how everyone has been talking about that since Spring Training?

Sheffield: We have to take it one game at a time, get past these guys first. If and when we face Boston, we'll worry about it then.

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

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