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March 10, 2017

Jim Leyland

Miami, Florida

United States - 3, Colombia - 2

JIM LEYLAND: Now you know why I'm not managing anymore. (Laughter.)

Q. What was that like for you?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, this was really a great game. Certainly. We hung in there. I thought at times we were probably trying to do a little too much, but we did hit some balls real good. Center fielder played an unbelievable game for them. We were probably a little anxious maybe and tried to do a little bit too much, but overall the pitching did a good job. We hung in there until we finally got the big hit.

Q. Chris Archer was doing a great job, he had four perfect innings and only 40-something pitches, why did you pull him out before he reached the 65 pitches?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, he had a situation with his organization. He had talked to them and said it was going to be four innings or he could have thrown more pitches if it took him that many to get through four. But if he got through four innings, that was going to be it. He was going to pitch four innings. So, we were hoping maybe he could have gone a little bit longer. I guess he could have, but once he got to four innings in, that was going to be it.

Q. That was the Rays' decision, not yours? The four innings, that was what the Rays wanted?
JIM LEYLAND: The decision to take Archer out?

Q. Yeah.
JIM LEYLAND: Yeah, once he told me that -- I got a lot of responsibility here, and he said that the organization they talked to him. He was going to pitch four innings. That's what he told us in the dugout. If he got through four innings, that was going to be it. If he threw some more pitches to get through the four innings, that would be okay but once he got to four innings, that was going to be it for him. So that's what he told us and that's what we did.

We're not going to take any chances. As I told you, it wasn't his fault. He did an unbelievable, fabulous job. We were in a little bit of a bind with the pitching obviously but they did a great job.

Q. In reference to hitters maybe trying to do a little too much, do you think is that the history of the U.S. that hasn't won this event, guys trying extra hard to do it? And then how do you turn the page from this game to play Dominican Republic tomorrow?
JIM LEYLAND: I can't speak for the other U.S. teams, I really don't know. I think our guys were amped up pretty good. We hit some balls really good, we hit did hit some fly balls that would have been out in a lot of ballparks. Not here, unfortunately.

So I don't have any problem. I just got a sense that maybe we were trying to do a little bit too much, and Adam had a good little line-drive swing on that last pitch to get the base hit and it's okay to manufacture runs. There's nothing wrong with that. But I think that like I say, we were a little bit amped up, and when you see a lot of outs in the air, that could be the case. It's not necessarily always true, but that could be the case.

But we hung in there until we finally got the big one and that's why I'm -- I talk about it all the time, I like the guys to get them home. People talk about on-base percentage and that's great but if you watch during the course of this championship season coming up, I'm talking about the MLB championship season, when a team loses, it's pretty common thread that a great percentage of the time the manager says, well, we had our chances. We just didn't get the big hit. That's why knocking them in for me is pretty important.

Q. There's been criticism in the past that U.S. hasn't taken this event as seriously as other countries, but when you see a guy like Nolan Arenado diving into first base after the wild pitch tonight, what's that kind of say about your guys and how much they want it?
JIM LEYLAND: Nobody knows how this is going to turn out. This is a tough venue. It's a tough event. But I'm not worried about guys not going all out. And like I said before, I'm not going to focus on the fact that the United States hasn't won this thing. I think that's the wrong thing to do. To me that's a negative instead of a positive. I think that comes off as a negative. "Hey, boy we got to win this thing, the United States never won it." I don't even want to talk about it. I think that's the wrong avenue to go down. I think just get them ready to play each and every day and just see what happens.

Q. With the Dominican Republic team tomorrow obviously, did this feel as the game went on and on and on that there was a real urgency for you guys to pull this one out?
JIM LEYLAND: Like I say, it can be a pretty short tournament, so it was nice to get that first win under our belt. And we know -- I mean, that you got to give this, let's get one thing straight, let's give this Colombia team some credit. They really got out of a few jams and they battled their tails off. This game very easily could have gone either way.

We know that the lineup obviously that the Dominican has, it's unbelievable, but hey, this is the big boys game. This is what it's all about. They have a fantastic lineup, we think we have a great lineup, and we'll just see how it plays out.

Q. If Adam had not gotten on there, if he had made an out, they would have had the 11th inning rules, with a runner on first and second. Did you allow yourself to think about that and how strange would that have felt, do you think?
JIM LEYLAND: Well it would have been a little bit different, to be honest with you, I was going to bring Andrew for that inning, and figure maybe get a strike out maybe get a ground ball. You know they were probably going to bunt, and probably bunt him over first and second. He's pretty nasty to bunt, and we were going to go for it there.

But Clippard did a great job. We got behind the eight ball a little bit. Obviously because of the situation with Arch, where it was going to be four innings and that's it. So, we got behind the eight ball a little bit, but we do have -- we are piggybacking tomorrow, so we have two starters that could throw between them 130 pitches, 65 and 65. We're going to piggyback tomorrow with Stroman and Roark. So that gives us a little bit of leeway hopefully to rest the bullpen, because some of these guys will not pitch tomorrow. Everybody in the bullpen will not be available tomorrow.

Q. You guys don't have that many games together, you haven't played that many games. Is this the kind of game that the way, the back and forth, that you guys can build some many camaraderie and some character with this kind of win?
JIM LEYLAND: I pretty much think that was there before the game started. We talked in the clubhouse a little bit before the game, and I could see the last couple days these guys, I think almost the whole team went out to dinner together at some point before we got here. I would assume maybe Fort Myers. So I think that was already there.

I think that the thing that I'm hoping is that I don't know if "relax" is the right word but hoping this win takes a little bit of pressure off, and we can relax a little bit. And when I say "relax", you don't relax against the Dominican Republic, but at least the guys feel good they got a win under their belt, we got the first one in the hopper; I think that's a good thing.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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