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October 8, 2003

Dusty Baker


Q.. Dusty, do you get the sense that Sammy is sort of proving himself in October like Barry did last October?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I mean this is -- it's a prime time to do it. I don't think he really had anything to prove with 500 or some home runs. It's just the first time he's been in postseason for a while. I'm glad he's swinging the bat well and getting hot. Sammy really hasn't really had an extreme hot streak all year. You know when Sammy gets one of those streaks, he gets a home run every at-bat. And I'm hoping this is on the way. Boy, it's coming right on time.

Q.. Everyone knows the Cubs are all about pitching. Are you surprised at all about the 20 runs in two games your guys have put up?

DUSTY BAKER: Not really. Our guys are feeling good. Sooner or later your offense is going to get together. I'm not surprised. We haven't really had a real hot streak hitting-wise all year long. And so, no, I'm not surprised. We have quality guys, quality hitters, and most of the guys are swinging the bat well at the same time. And we haven't really had a period where we had this many guys swing the bat this well as a team.

Q.. With all the pitches Mark's thrown in the past month and with the big lead, was there any thought to maybe getting him out of there before he threw as many pitches as he did?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, we discussed it and that's why we had somebody warming up in the 8th with him. But the way that ball is flying out here today and yesterday and the way they can handle that big of an inning, we didn't want to take any chance of them putting up a bunch of crooked numbers, and them getting back in the ballgame at all. We knew how many pitches he had, and our number was 115. And he went over it by one, that's why I went out and got him.

Q.. Dusty, what was the most positive thing you saw about yesterday's game that carried over into tonight's game that was a factor in your team's win tonight?

DUSTY BAKER: Probably the fact that how many runs we scored and also the same time the fact that we had our number three going against their number one guy.

Q.. What do you think has happened with Gonzalez, just all of a sudden he's just emerged like he's never been this hot all year?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, he was this hot in April, just a lot of people forget about that. He hit almost .400 in April. And things go in streaks, he's being more aggressive. He's hitting the ball straight away, not trying to pull it as much. Who knows.

Q.. On Sammy's home run, it showed Lofton being expressive and colorful. Can you say anything clean as to what the guys were saying when they saw it?

DUSTY BAKER: I thought it went out of the whole park. And Dick Pole said he thought it hit the back fence back there. Boy, he hit that ball a ton. And we weren't talking about the length of it as much as we were the fact we got some more runs.

Q.. How important was it to get this win and get some momentum as you had on the road?

DUSTY BAKER: It's important because you

don't want anybody coming to your house and beat you 2-0, and going back to their house. It was important, you know, to at least get one out of this. We had an opportunity to get two, but it was important to go down there tied, 1-1, and try to bring it back to our house next week.

Q.. Can you talk about Prior's effort tonight?

DUSTY BAKER: He wasn't as sharp as he has been. But I think the runs really helped him. Mark's a competitor. That was huge, number one, that bases loaded, two-out in the first inning, base hit by Randall Simon to give him the lead. Like I said, that was big for him to get out of the inning first and third with no one out. And it still remained 2-0. Mark, as usual, had a very good ballgame.

Q.. Both of Kerry's wins against Atlanta, came at Atlanta, does that make him better prepared to start the series for you in Florida?

DUSTY BAKER: He pitched well in Florida, as well. I think he beat Penny 1-0 early in the year. So they're one of the few teams in the League, might be the only team that has the same exact record at home as on the road. So we pride ourself in being a good road team.

Q.. Talk about what you expect from the Marlins these next three games, with them having three straight at home?

DUSTY BAKER: We expect a lot of excitement. They're tough in Florida. They've always been tough in Florida. We don't expect anything differently. They're tough in Florida, and we play well on the road. And so with 65,000 people there, I heard, it's going to be exciting and electric and haven't seen that many people there since I guess the '97 playoffs when we went in with the Giants.

End of FastScripts...

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