10/14/2002 01:07 am ET
Giants post-game quotes
Dusty Baker, Benito Santiago, J.T. Snow
Can you talk about your team's ability to get out of trouble so often tonight?
Baker: Well, it was a combination of, I guess, good fortune, and Livo (Livan Hernandez) not wanting to give up any more runs and us playing good defense.
The ballgame was an opposite game to last night because they kept getting out of trouble and tonight was our night to get out of trouble. We left a lot of men on base last night and they left a lot of men on base tonight.
When J.T. hit that double, did you have any flashbacks to 2000 and that big home run?
Baker: Not really. I thought the ball had a chance to get out of the ballpark tonight, actually, and the ball was not carrying like it usually does, or like in the daytime like it was yesterday.
I was just happy to tie the game up, the way Andy Benes was dealing. It's rare that you win a game like that, because we got four hits, maximize our hits, and this is one of the few nights you'll see where the opposition outhits you, just like we outhit them last night, but the score did not indicate such.
Coming into the game, do you feel like you are the ones that are going to have to do the damage, the guys in the 5 and 6 spots, because Barry (Bonds) is not going to get a lot of pitches to hit?
Snow: I think everybody feels like they have got to do some of the damage, whether it's at the top of the lineup or the bottom.
It's been made such a big deal about Barry not getting pitches and being walked, and we have confidence from the guys in the middle and the bottom of the lineup that someone is going to come through or get a big hit.
The way I look at it, they spend a lot of their attention and time on Barry and what to do with him. You put him on first base, we like it. We like hitting with a guy on base. We like getting the pitcher in the stretch. Barry can steal a base, he can score on a ball in the gap. So there's a lot of positives that can happen with pitching around him.
Tonight, it happened. I got the double, and then they walked him again and Benito hits a home run. That's basically it. We don't put too much pressure on ourselves. We don't try too hard. We just -- somebody doesn't get him, we have the confidence that somebody else will.
Could you talk about J.T.'s perseverance and how much he means to this team in the postseason?
Baker: Well, it's not only during the postseason, but during the season, too. It just happened that he's hot now in the postseason. You hear a bunch of stuff, a bunch of negative things about J.T. and everybody else on this team, but we don't really listen to it. The main thing is that you know, the guys come to play. They come to play every day. In J.T.'s case, you just have to remain positive through it all because if not, then you don't have a chance. That was outstanding. It's an outstanding series, and we have one more game to go.
Do you allow yourself to think that tomorrow night could be the clincher game? Do you allow yourself to dwell on that?
Snow: Well, yeah, we know that if we win tomorrow, we're going to the World Series, but that doesn't -- you know, we know we still have a lot of work to do. Tonight was a tough game and tomorrow will probably be even tougher.
But we all knew that today's game was -- I thought, was a big swing-game. If they win, it's 2-2 and we've got to go back to St. Louis. If we win, we're up 3-1. That's a good team over there. We've played some pretty good games the last four games, and they keep coming back at us and we keep coming back at them. I think you are seeing two really good all-around teams in this series. That won't change the way we approach tomorrow. We've tried to stay the same all year and take it one game at a time. The guys in the clubhouse tonight, they will forget about tonight's game and focus on tomorrow's.
Benito, everybody has been talking about you hitting behind Barry; is that (the home run) the ultimate answer to everybody's question?
Santiago: I say yes, but like I always say, it's not easy to hit behind this man. All of the time I see that, a pitcher with two outs, I try to do the best that I can do.
Can you tell us your reaction when you hit the ball? Did you think it was going out?
Santiago: Well, that reaction was a dream come true. Dream is coming true. That's when I hit that ball, I know I hit it hard, and what I remember is the time before that, they struck me out with the same pitch and this time it was 3-2 and I was looking and tried to put the good side of the bat on the ball and it happened.
You almost looked off-balance when you hit the ball; where did you get all of the power from?
Santiago: Well, I think to hit a ball like that, you have to put a little strain on it. It's just unbelievable. I don't know how to describe it at this time, but it's happening.
Dusty has talked all week about how good you are at not taking it personally when they walk Barry in front of you. Is it harder not to take it personally when they walk him with nobody on base?
Santiago: Well, I think he's right, but at the same token he's been talking to me a lot. He's been loosening me up out there and told me not to try to do too much and whatever happens. I know I put the ball in play most of the time, and this time, I came back.
Benito and J.T., do you think this game will finally end the perception that this team is strictly Kent and Bonds?
Santiago: Well, I know, I've been talking to J.T. almost every day. I've said, J.T., we have a chance to do some damage here, because they have been walking Barry Bonds so much. Even when we take batting practice, we've been talking a lot. We've been talking a lot and it's been paying off. He hit the big double today, and when I see that the game was tied, I know we had a chance to win, but the big hit, too, it came from him.
On that same topic, for J.T., can you give us the thought process, were you looking for something outside to go the other way?
Snow: Yeah I was actually. He started me off with a slider, off-speed pitch and I was looking for a fastball away. Once it got to 1-0, I stayed up there and looked out there, just tried to relax and see the ball and drive it that way. He gave me a pretty good pitch to hit and I hit it about as well as I can hit it I guess.
I looked up and saw (Jim) Edmonds kind of jogging after it, and I know Jim pretty well, playing with him, and I thought it had a chance. This is a pretty big ballpark, and it's big in the gap, so you never take anything for granted.
After the home run, you go out to the ninth and the first batter comes up and he strikes out and the ball gets by you; what was going through your mind there? What did you say to (Robb) Nen and what were you telling yourself?
Santiago: Well, I was thinking a lot, because that happened, the same thing yesterday and they are taking advantage of that. And man, when I see that happen again, I go, "Hey, here we go again." But I don't want this thing to be the same as yesterday. I just go out there and try to pump the guy up and tell him, "Hey, I screwed up on that one, but come back and give me some good pitches"; and he did.
But that was not a good feeling, seeing that ball going away, especially when he strikes out the man. And that's very important to get the leadoff man out.
How key was it that you finally got Andy Benes out of there? He started to look tired when he left.
Baker: Well, you know, he threw the ball as well tonight as I've seen him in a long time. He was throwing the ball down, in and out, mixing his pitches up well. So quite frankly, we were glad to see him get out of there.
I guess Benito or Dusty, were you surprised that Tony La Russa left Rick White in so long?
Santiago: Well, it doesn't surprise me. Especially since the guy was hitting 92, 93 miles per hour. Any time you see that, that's a plus. I don't think so. The guy was pitching great. It just happened that I got a good pitch to hit and the game is over.
Baker: Well, I never second guess another manager on the other side. I mean, Rick White has been one of their main men since he got over there, and this is the playoffs. You know, he was throwing lights-out on that ball tonight. This is the best I've seen him throw, too.
So, no, I wasn't surprised he left him in. The guy was throwing great. It was two outs with a runner on first base. You've got to give Benito a lot of credit for hitting the ball.
You said that the pitch that you hit was the same pitch that he struck you out with in the previous at-bat; was it the same location, as well?
Santiago: Yeah, that's correct. It was the same pitch. But the time before it, I was really looking for a breaking ball and he kind of surprised me with that pitch. But as soon as it went 3-2, I was looking for that pitch, and I had good contact.
What was it?
Santiago: Fastball inside.
How much was Livan (Hernandez) struggling the first three innings, and what did you do to settle him down?
Santiago: Well, I went and talked to him and told him the only ball that was hit hard, that came from (Fernando) Vina. The second run was a very good pitch away, sinker away, and Tino (Martinez) got a piece of that ball and they just delivered it right behind third base.
Can you remember what it was like just trying to make this club a few years ago?
Santiago: Oh, my God, I can't describe that. It's something that I've already said before. It's something that I dreamed, and I know two years (ago), I was out of baseball, but at the same time, I had the conversation with Dusty and Dusty give me that phone call and he really signed me up.
I couldn't wait to go to Spring Training and play for this man.
With as many times as Benito has come through in this situation do you think teams will ever not automatically put Barry on?
Baker: No, I think they will still put him on. He hit 600 and whatever it is home runs. How many home runs you got, Benny?
Santiago: I got 201. (Laughter.)
Baker: OK. You guys do the math. (Laughter.)