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October 11, 2016

Dusty Baker

Los Angeles, California - Postgame 4

Dodgers - 6

Nationals - 5

Q. The series is tied now, but you still had Daniel Murphy who continues to be one of your best hitters.
DUSTY BAKER: You know, he was one of the best hitters before we got here. He knows how to hit. He comes through in the clutch. Man, that was a hard-fought game on both sides.

You know, that's why we fought so hard for the home-field advantage. You don't think it's going to come into play, but most of the time, it does. And so we're going home. I'm sure they wanted to take both games here. We wanted to take both games here.

But realistically, when you go to a place, most of the time, you know, you're hoping for at least a split. And they split at our place and we split at their place.

Q. What did you make of the comeback that your guys mounted there in the seventh inning, specifically the Harper battle against Kershaw and then Murphy?
DUSTY BAKER: Man, that's what baseball is all about right there, a matter of will. And Kershaw was on empty. We knew it. They knew it. Everybody knew it. That was some battle. And most of the time, when you have an opportunity to take the lead and you don't, most of the time, something bad happens, and you know, we had an opportunity to take the lead.

You know, young Lopez, he threw the ball great. And Kershaw was outstanding. That's one of the best performances I've seen, especially on three days' rest. And I knew that if we didn't get him -- we had him on the ropes early in the first inning, and I knew if we didn't get him and the shadows came in, it was going to be very, very hard to see. Because I've played games here at that time, and you're just swinging at what you think you see, and not exactly what you're seeing, which is evident of all the strikeouts. Not to take anything away from him, because he was outstanding.

Ross, you know, he lost where the plate was. That was big that Perez came in and got us out of a jam, because they were off and running to the races had he not done that. But that was a tough day on Ross, yes.

Q. Nothing could be taken for granted, but you will have Max Scherzer on full rest, Game 5. That's got to be a reasonably comforting situation, isn't it?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, well, you're never really comfortable until the game is over. But we do have Max. They hit him pretty hard early in the game. We have Max and we have our home fans, the way they had their home fans here.

So like I said, that's why you play so hard for the home-field advantage. You know, this year, it's coming to fruition.

Q. Trea Turner had three hits, but there was a tough ball in left-center where it looked like he took a long route. What about the route and did Ross get a little unsettled after that?
DUSTY BAKER: I'm not sure of the route he took. You guys had a better angle of that, sitting up high, than we do on the field.

You know, can't take anything away from Trea because this guy has been playing. He's been playing big time. And you know, he had some things to learn, and he's learning from them.

Yeah, I mean, really, the walks hurt, and then the hit batsman. We kind of gave them the first three runs, other than the home run, to Gonzalez, which was I think preceded by a walk. And the last run was a hit batsman, as well.

When you look at it, maybe it's just their day. I mean, we had Solis warming up, but we really didn't want to use Solis, unless it was an emergency. That was an emergency situation, but I didn't want to bring a tired Solis out there to face, you know, Howie Kendrick, because we were trying to stay away from Howie Kendrick, because he's been hitting lights-out. I mean, he's been hitting the ball hard. So you've got to pick your poison. You know, didn't work.

Q. How much pressure have these shorter starts over the last three games put on your bullpen?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, it's put a lot of pressure on my pen and on us (chuckles) to make the decisions, because -- on both sides. I mean, all their guys going into today's game had gone two days in a row apiece or two innings.

It puts a lot of pressure on you to try to figure out who is the strongest, who is the most rested, and you try to do matchups the best you can, but sometimes it comes down to who is the most rested.

Q. Not just the at-bat Bryce had against Kershaw, he had an eight or nine-pitch walk in the first inning; are you liking what you are seeing from him?
DUSTY BAKER: Big time, I'm liking the fight we're seeing from him. During playoff time is when he's at his best. I'm liking it a lot, because Kershaw, he's been hard on him his whole career, and he knows it and Kershaw knows it and you guys know it, everybody knows it. I like what I'm seeing, the fight in him.

Q. You've been saying all year that you've been waiting for the lineup to start clicking, and in this series, Zimmerman, Werth and Murphy combined, they are hitting over .400. Are you getting close to seeing the lineup all clicking?
DUSTY BAKER: The more we go in these playoffs, the more you're going to see the lineup that I envisioned, production-wise, all year long. So it's a big -- I told you before today's game that it was going to be a tough battle today, and it was. And now we're going home.

Q. You kind of forced the Dodgers hand this series by making them pitch Kershaw on short rest; what are you expecting in Game 5 from them pitching-wise, is it an all-hands-on-deck situation?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, I know Kershaw isn't pitching (laughter), thank God, you know what I mean.

So I don't know who they are going to pitch. They will probably let us know right before, I would imagine it's between Maeda, Hill, and probably -- how do you say his name? Urias.

Q. Espinosa obviously played a big role in that rally and beating out that play at second base?
DUSTY BAKER: That was big.

Q. Did you see anything in those last two at-bats?
DUSTY BAKER: Danny is a streaky player and perhaps he's getting into a streak, because he hit the ball hard the last time up to right field.

You know, had I had a slower player in there, we would have never threatened in that inning. That was a big play by Danny beating that throw to second base, you know, which continued the inning and then, you know, gave Murphy a chance to come up with some men on base.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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