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October 5, 2021

Alex Cora

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Fenway Park

Boston Red Sox

Postgame Press Conference

Red Sox 6, Yankees 2

Q. Can you talk about Nate and the two home runs?

ALEX CORA: Nate was great. We learned a lot last week. And I know a lot of people doubted us and they doubted him and all that, but we learned a lot last week and we executed our plan the way we wanted to, and he was amazing. It's a tough game to manage, of course. If it's a five-game or seven-game series, we'll keep him there. But the way our bullpen was and the way we feel about them, I felt like that was the time. We almost got burned, Kiké made a great play and Plaw a great tag, and then after that every settled down and we got 27 outs.

Offensively, like I said, he's a great pitcher and it's a grind for both sides, for him and for us. You know, we made some adjustments offensively, lineup-wise. This is the first time with Kyle hitting off and Kiké hitting second, and we had to did it because of the situation we're in.

And right away they pitch around Rafi and they pay the price. Xander put a great swing on a slider and hit it out of the ballpark, and Kyle hit the home run. I think the top of the order was amazing today. It's what they do. It's what they do.

Doesn't matter who is playing, who is not playing. If we show up, we are going to play, and regardless of the result, we are going to be happy with the way we go about our business. Sometimes it looks horrible, but 93 times this year it hasn't looked horrible, so we're going to keep rolling.

Q. Your thought when Stanton hit the ball?

ALEX CORA: I was glad he stood there and it was only a single but we felt like he hit it at the end.

Q. (Question and answer in Spanish)

Q. How much did you miss managing in October and just all the chess moves that kind of come along with managing games with these stakes?

ALEX CORA: It's fun. This is what you -- you want to be a big league manager. I just got lucky that in 2018, I had a great team and we did what we did. Obviously 2019 didn't go the way we wanted and in 2020, we all know what happened.

But to be able to play in October, we're blessed. We're lucky. That's a great group of guys. They have been amazing throughout the process. It's been a roller coaster, but, you know, to be able to advance, beating a great team; that's a great baseball team. What Cash is doing and what Boone did this year and what those players did this year, it was amazing.

From afar, obviously, you don't want them to win, for the right reasons for us, but you just have respect for them. It just happened that tonight we played better but that's a great organization. What they do, man, it's amazing. I know for us, it's fun. It's fun.

Now we go to the next one, and we've just got to be ready to face a great baseball team. Probably coming into the season, everybody talked about them being the best team in the big leagues, and we have a huge challenge. But we're ready for it.

Q. Can I ask about Game 1 starter?

ALEX CORA: A for effort. (Laughter).

Q. The second Stanton ball, did you think that was going off the bat? It was 114 miles per hour. And how important was that defense?

ALEX CORA: We played defense. When we play defense, we're good. That kid in center field, his instincts are amazing. Doogie went for the ball, played it of the wall. He misses it, but Kiké was right there. And he made a great throw to Xander and Xander made a great throw to Plaw, and it was a great tag.

We want to be a good defensive team. We haven't done that throughout the season. We had our hot stretches, quote/unquote, but that was a great play.

Q. What is it about Nate that has made him so good for you in the postseason?

ALEX CORA: He's so calm. When he shows up to the ballpark, he's the same guy when he pitches and when he doesn't. He was waiting for this one. They did an amazing job on Friday. They took some pitches away, they hunted pitches in certain spots and they did damage. Like I said, we learned a lot from that.

He's just a great person. He's not only a great pitcher but he's a great person. He cares about everybody; the way he goes about it in the training room, in the weight room, when he doesn't pitch, he's a plus. We had the right guy on the mound today.

How many times did we face him, eight times this year, I think? And for him to pitch that way, they know him. They know him and he was great. I mean, when I went to the mound, he gave me -- I mean, he gave me this look, like, what are you doing, you know, like he looked at me like, what are you doing.

But it's just such a tough game to manage because if he stays there and he hits a home run, then we felt our bullpen was ready to get the rest of game; we got lucky the ball stayed in the ballpark and we made a great play and after that we did a good job the rest of the game.

Q. How would you describe how special tonight was from an atmosphere-type perspective, and also the contributions up and down the lineup and bullpen guys people would not have expected to play a big role in the game that they did tonight.

ALEX CORA: Yeah, Plaw did an amazing job. He actually, you know, that ball he drove to right field, Bobby put a great at-bat in the first one, the 3-2 count, slider, borderline right. But for us to pull this off and for us to win in October, it has to be that way. Everybody has to contribute.

I think pitching-wise, obviously like I said, it's a different game, and you kind of like map it out. That's the way it is. Doesn't matter if you are up or down, if you map it out to go with the guys that are fresh and you feel they are the best matchups for the opposition. You can be up 3-0 or down 3-0, you still have to do it. That's what Aaron did, right.

Holmes comes in early and he did an amazing job and he brings in his guys, and you feel like, they are one or two swings away from coming back. It's very uncomfortable.

I thought 162 the other day was the most uncomfortable game to manage in my career. That tops it. That's something different. That's something different.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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