10/14/2004 1:34 AM ET
Sheffield Q&A: Game 2, ALCS
Outfielder talks about getting to Pedro early, Lieber
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
|Gary Sheffield opened the scoring for the Yankees with an RBI single in the first. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
NEW YORK -- Gary Sheffield and the Yankees defeated the Red Sox, 3-1, on Wednesday night, taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series.
Sheffield's RBI single in the first inning got things started against Sox starter Pedro Martinez, while John Olerud's two-run homer in the sixth proved to be the game-winner.
New York's Jon Lieber pitched a gem, allowing one run in seven-plus innings, earning his first career postseason victory.
After the game, Sheffield spoke with MLB.com's Mark Feinsand about Pedro, the Yankee Stadium crowd and winning both games at home to start the ALCS.
MLB.com: Your RBI single against Pedro Martinez got the Yankees on the scoreboard in the first inning. How important was it to get out to an early lead against him?
Sheffield: We wanted to score first and not let up. We did that, and any time you can score first against Pedro, you have a chance to score more and increase the lead. The more we can score, the quicker we can put the game away.
MLB.com: What pitch were you looking for and what did you get?
Sheffield: Fastball and fastball. It was a fastball situation and I knew he didn't want to get behind in the count, risk giving up more runs. You have to take what you're given, so I hit the first pitch.
MLB.com: Is that the best you've seen from Pedro all year?
Sheffield: Absolutely. The ball was taking off on you at the last minute. He threw me some pitches inside that exploded on me at about 95-96 miles per hour.
MLB.com: You've heard a lot of trash-talking in your day. What did you think of the "Who's your daddy?" chants?
Sheffield: These fans come up with some classic stuff here. They create something if you say the wrong thing and they just run with it.
MLB.com: What did you think of Jon Lieber's performance tonight?
Sheffield: I've always said that he's a big-game pitcher. I played against him when he was with the Cubs and he was lights-out. When he got hurt, everybody wondered whether he'd be back. In Spring Training, I saw him throwing the way he was and I knew he was going to come back even better.
MLB.com: John Olerud came up with another huge hit tonight. How important has he been in the second half?
Sheffield: Alex [Rodriguez] was probably his biggest recruiter. He was saying that this guy could help us win ballgames, and he's certainly done that.
MLB.com: Another night, another save for Mariano Rivera. Is that as automatic as it gets?
Sheffield: He's the best of all time. That's the only way to sum him up.
MLB.com: You have a 2-0 lead after beating Pedro and Curt Schilling. Are you feeling pretty good about yourselves?
Sheffield: We can't get wrapped up in what we've done. We have to worry about closing it out now. We're just worrying about Game 3 now.
MLB.com: You've seen 10 Yankees-Red Sox games at Fenway Park this year. What are you expecting on Friday?
Sheffield: Double the dose. We're ready for it. We just have to go out and play our game and we'll be fine.
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.