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October 1, 2003

Dusty Baker


THE MODERATOR: We'll start with Dusty Baker. First question for Dusty?

Q. Do you feel that the game was somewhat decided in the first inning when you couldn't get Hampton out of the game?

DUSTY BAKER: Well it certainly would have helped. With nobody out and didn't get any more runs. At first I thought Sammy's ball was going out of the ballpark, but after the fact we've just got to get better with those bases loaded, especially with nobody out. They had somebody warming up in the bullpen real early so in a lot of ways it could have been decided in that first inning had we put the ball in play we could have had a whole bunch of runs early.

Q. What did they say about Sammy's ball where it hit?

DUSTY BAKER: It hit on the yellow line, but that's in play.

Q. The walk to Furcal?

DUSTY BAKER: I had to make a decision. I thought it was a better match up facing DeRosa who hadn't been playing as much and Furcal who has 194 hits. He's a dangerous man in that situation. I thought it was better to pitch to DeRosa. We had one ball and two strikes and we were one strike away from getting out of that inning. You have to give DeRosa fought fouled off some tough pitches.

Q. Would you explain the running play with Simon going down to second base?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, the runner was going to score on that ball. He was trying to get himself in the scoring position at second base and another hit and we have the lead. So they executed the relay throw perfectly and got him at second base.

Q. What did it say about the Braves offense that they were a home run hitting team this year but tonight got 12 singles?

DUSTY BAKER: They were the top of the lead in batting average and homeruns. Tonight they relied on the base hit. We kept them in the ballpark, but the key thing when a series like this starts is the team that gets the most 2 RBI hits wins and the two they got from Giles and from DeRosa, so tonight their second base man really hurt us. And, you know, that's usually the difference in the series.

Q. Your thoughts about going back home with the series even 1-1 and Prior pitching?

DUSTY BAKER: We would prefer to go home 2 and 0, but usually when you come into the ballpark, usually that's what you hope for is 1-1 so you can go back home, and I feel very good about prior going for us on Friday.

Q. Can you talk about Carlos's performance?

DUSTY BAKER: He threw the ball very well today especially in his first playoff game. He's had a taste of it. He will be equal or better the next time out. He threw the ball excellent. It was just time to go get him at that time, especially when they were hitting the ball hard of them. He was threw anyway, but the ball hit him in the leg, so he got an injury timeout.

THE MODERATOR: One more for Dusty.

Q. Did you expect to see Smoltz in the 8th inning like that and could you assess his performance?

DUSTY BAKER: No, I didn't think he was going to come out in the 8th. I saw him warming up. I knew then that he was coming in, but a playoff game like this, you have to do some things you wouldn't ordinarily do. You had to give Smoltz and Bobby Cox alit of credit.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Dusty.

End of FastScripts...

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