October 2, 2002
ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Game One
Q. Your evaluation of the game today?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, it's the kind of game we usually play. Exciting ballgame down to the end. You know, we haven't had an easy game in a month. So I propose we play that kind of game through the playoffs.
Q. How big is it to win the opener of a short series, especially on the road?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, it's very important, especially in their home. I mean, these Braves are extremely tough at home. We have known that for years. I mean, we knew they were going to make another run somewhere along the line there because these Braves, they are tough; they don't quit. It's especially important because now we are sure to, you know, win at least two games at home.
Q. Anything to say to Santiago or in the dugout after the dropped pop-up?
DUSTY BAKER: No. What can you say at that point? Nobody felt worse than Benny. First one I've ever seen him drop since he's been here. Then he made a spectacular play on that next pop-up by Giles. So there's not a whole bunch, really, to say. You just say that you don't give the Braves any life, especially at the end of the game. They can capitalize as good as anybody. We thought we had a double play on Andruw Jones and didn't turn it. And then the pop-up, so that's really giving them five outs. It's tough to beat those Braves if you give them five outs.
Q. Is it special for you to come back here and win back where you broke in as a player?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, it's special. You know, we wanted this game and I wanted this game very badly. It is special. I could really tell by how many people were secretly telling me underneath their breath that they were rooting for me and the Giants, but they didn't want anybody to hear them. (Laughter.)
Q. Would you talk about Ortiz's work today?
DUSTY BAKER: Oh, I tell you, he did an outstanding job today. He kept the ball down. He had great location. What did he walk, one guy maybe? I hardly remember him walking anybody, actually. Also, he helped create a rally for us by getting a base hit, which he is known to do. At that time, we had to wrestle with the decision to take him out at that time because he had 107 pitches, and those guys coming up in that next inning, that would be their fourth time facing him, decided to go with our bullpen that's been excellent, especially Worrell. We thought that was enough, because the next step was possibly 125 pitches and we didn't want to bring in our bullpen with us in trouble.
Q. There's been a lot of talk about how important Santiago's offense is batting behind Bonds, if Bonds gets walked a lot; and Santiago had three hits today and a couple RBIs.
DUSTY BAKER: Well, he's big in the equation. He had a big double for us, three hits, started another rally. Hit the ball well today. Not only Santiago but the guys hitting behind Barry and in front of Barry. There were guys on base for Barry and they could not walk him and the guys behind Barry, J.T., he had a big double, also, behind Barry. And prior to that, Reggie Sanders had a big base hit to create J.T.'s double. So it's not only Benito, but it's also the guys in front of and behind Barry and Benito.
Q. Your thoughts on David Bell and how he has almost quietly performed?
DUSTY BAKER: Not almost quietly. He actually performs very quietly. He comes to play and comes to play every day. He's got some big hits for us and played excellent defense. David Bell has been huge for us. Probably one of our largest off-season acquisitions. He comes to play. You know, he knows how to win, comes from a winning atmosphere, a winning family and that helps us tremendously.
Q. Why was your team able to hit Glavine so well today?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, we hit him well early and then he settled down. I'm sure he got some pitches up in the zone that are uncharacteristic of him. But, you know, anybody is capable of being hit. It just turned out to be our day today.
End of FastScriptsÃ¢ï¿½Â¦.