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AL DIVISION SERIES: ASTROS VS WHITE SOX


October 7, 2021


Dusty Baker


Houston, Texas, USA

Minute Maid Park

Houston Astros

Postgame 1 Press Conference


Astros - 6, White Sox - 1

Q. What impressed you most about Lance? Is this sort of what an ace needs to do in Game 1 is come out and dominate the way he did?

DUSTY BAKER: For sure, but the main thing is he stayed away from the high-pitch count inning, which permitted him to go deep in the game. I know he was hoping to go full seven innings, but they starting hitting in that one inning. So we had to come get him.

We got him out of trouble and had his breaking ball going, had his fastball command going. Whenever that happens, he's tough to hit.

Q. What did you think of Altuve's slide there at home? Do you think it was a good momentum boost to get the crowd involved?

DUSTY BAKER: Oh, yeah. And that was a good play by Moncada to field that ball in the hole. He didn't even make it close to home. That was a tremendous slide. He's an excellent slider, and that was big for us because I think at the time it was 1-0.

So any time you can add a run when you're playing such a good opponent, I mean, it's big. Put the ball in play, and if we put the ball in place, some good, positive things can happen.

Q. Dusty, you guys scored six runs despite only having two extra base hits. What did you think about the way you guys did little things like running the bases, hitting against the shift, Brantley put the bunt down in that inning. What do you think of the little things you did tonight?

DUSTY BAKER: The little things are like stacking pennies. You do little things, and it adds up to big things. We picked up some runners. Outstanding base running by Yordan Álvarez to attack up from second to go to third. Those are the little things that, if you don't do, it usually comes back to haunt you. All of these games are going to be close. They aren't ever going to concede.

You could tell by the way they were bringing some of their top guys out of the bullpen. We scored early and kept scoring, and their bullpen shut us down the last three or four innings. That was a good game to play, a good game to watch. The fans were happy going home.

Q. Obvious question: The advantage is key here to winning Game 1 of the short series?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, I mean, it puts you up. It's a long ways from over. These guys are a quality team. You especially want to win that first game. That's why you play for that home-field advantage. That's why it was so important.

So we've got our work cut out tomorrow, and it's a good feeling to win that first one.

Q. Just again talk about the confidence of Jake Meyers at the plate tonight.

DUSTY BAKER: He got us on the board, and he got another hit. That first one is always the toughest one. You get that first one, and then it sort of cuts the ice and gives you confidence for the second and hopefully down the line in the series.

Yeah, that was big to get us on the board, and we got, what, two two-out hits, which usually in a series like this, when you pick up runners from third less than two outs and the team who gets the most two-out RBI hits is the team that usually puts yourself in position to win.

Q. Did it help with Meyers that you guys had the home-field advantage and he was obviously very familiar being out there in the field in your ballpark?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, anytime you're home, you've been out there a number of times. Most people feel very comfortable at home. That's why it's called home. Yeah, it helped him, and it helped us.

Q. Dusty, how much did it help having a seemingly healthy Brantley tonight, having him at No. 2. He was running the bases, hustling down to first, went 2 for 4, two RBIs. It helped to get the whole lineup going?

DUSTY BAKER: That's the Brantley we missed when he was out. He changes the whole lineup. He's a quality left-handed bat. You know he's going to put the ball in play, doesn't usually strikeout, doesn't usually hit in double plays. This guy is a professional hitter.

Any time you've got a guy like that out of your lineup, you could tell we were having trouble scoring runs while Michael was out of the lineup. So I'm glad that he got well. He's feeling better every day. We'll probably DH him tomorrow to make sure that he feels better going forward.

Q. Dusty, last year you didn't have Yordan Alvarez for the playoffs. How much of a boost is he to have this year?

DUSTY BAKER: That's a huge bat. I thought many times over the winter what it would have been like to have Yordan in there. But nobody is going to give me any sympathy for a player that's hurt, especially a key player like that.

He is in the middle of our lineup. We don't know when he's going to leave the yard, and you know he's going to drive in some big runs. So, yeah, life wasn't too pleasant last year without Yordan. I didn't even know what I had. He came back for two games. The first game back he hit a homer. I was envisioning what it would be like to have him back, and then he got hurt, and he was out the rest of the year. So I'm very thankful to have him back.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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