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October 15, 2021

Dusty Baker

Houston, Texas, USA

Minute Maid Park

Houston Astros

Postgame 1 Press Conference

Astros - 5, Red Sox - 4

Q. Correa and Altuve have done this in the postseason for years and years. Did you kind of expect in a tight game that it was going to have to be those guys to come through and sort of deliver you the way they did?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I was hoping it would be them. You know, when you have a good lineup, you don't know which guy it's going to be, but those two guys have been -- I've been watching them for years, and it's a pleasure to be watching them up close and personal, and, boy, they are some clutch guys. That was a great game. That was a great game to manage, great game to watch, and I'm just glad that we came out on top.

Q. Dusty, what did you think about how your bullpen performed after Framber went out early?

DUSTY BAKER: It became a battle of the bullpens because their bullpen performed well. Also ours did a great job. I think we almost went through everybody on both sides in Game 1, and we got some big outs. Framber, he wasn't sharp, but he got some big double plays. And probably some of the biggest outs actually was Yimi coming in and getting that one out with runners on second and third. Had he not, the game would have been 5-0 instead of 3-0, and that gave us a chance to come back.

If you got a chance, a bona fide chance, then you still feel it, and you feel that you can -- it's not a mountain that's too high to climb. Boy, all I can say, that was some game.

Q. When you were live on Fox, you actually were watching the Kiké home run, and you did a little play-by-play. Can you walk us through that? What was that like to see that game tied while you were on the air?

DUSTY BAKER: It was terrible. I blame Fox for that because invariably when you are doing it live -- an in-game live interview something usually always happens. My mom is watching the game, so you got to -- really I think I said oh, God, and --

Q. Oh, Lord.

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, because that ball as soon as it touched his bat, it was gone. I haven't seen a hitter this hot in the last week than Kiké Hernández. Boy, when I saw that ball go up, I was, like, oh, man, that was a blast. Then he blasted another one. Yeah, it's not a good feeling when you know you're live on air and you see that ball leaving the ballpark.

Q. You've been around for a long time. What do you believe makes great postseason performers likes Kiké, Jose, Carlos?

DUSTY BAKER: Number one, you have to rise to the occasion and want to be in that situation, and you have to raise your level of concentration and relaxation all at the same time. And the guys that perform the best are the guys that can pretend that it's not a big moment but want to be into the big moment. And there are some big-game, big-moment guys on both sides.

Q. You have been around teammates and players that have had incredible relationships before, but how unique and special is this relationship on field and off between Correa and Altuve? They've been doing this since 2015 together, and in that sixth and seventh inning it's pretty clear that they're almost following each other trying to one-up each other in the best possible way.

DUSTY BAKER: I don't know if they're trying to one-up each other, but they're trying to do the best they can every time out there. And I remember Lasorda used to call Billy Russell and Davey Lopes them Frick and Frack.

Those guys have been together for a long time. They know each other. It's kind of like Tom Brady and Gronkowski. They know how they think. They know probably what they eat for dinner, what they like and what the kids like. It's a special relationship that will last forever because when they get through playing, they'll be coming back to many teams that won in '17 or teams that won here and teams that won there and they're a big part of it.

Q. How much did Luis Garcia stabilize that game for you guys, and he has thrown really well in his last two outings. What have you seen from him?

DUSTY BAKER: He has been working hard. I see him working in the outfield. I see him working in his bullpens, and you got to have that bridge guy that can come in and throw some quality innings and throw some zeros up there to give your offense a chance. You can't have guys come in and give up a couple of runs here, a couple of runs there, and the next thing you know that game is almost out of reach for us. You got to have those guys that can keep the score where it is, and that's what he did for us tonight.

Q. Could you grade or evaluate Carlos's trot around the bases. He points to his wrist, pumps up the crowd, points to his ear. What did you think of how animated he was?

DUSTY BAKER: I didn't even watch it, to tell you the truth. I was just thankful for the fact that ball stayed fair and it went out of the ballpark. And I was thinking about how we were going to get some more runs. That's what I was thinking about and the guys that were up after Carlos.

So, like I said, I didn't even watch it. I don't know what he did, so I was just kind of numb. And I was talking to my dad, and it's like just thankful that ball went out of the ballpark.

Q. A few of the relievers that you used tonight you didn't have a couple months ago. Just how have you seen them kind of grow into their roles, and what have you learned about them, especially in these big spots?

DUSTY BAKER: That's one of the difficulties when you make multi-player trades. You have to know where to put them. You have to know where they will most likely succeed. Are they better at clean innings, or who is the best guys for runners inherited. That's why we went to Yimi. That's why I went to Yimi the other day because he is one of the best guys that we have at not giving up the runs that are out there for somebody else.

So I mean, it's huge. You look around the league, and these guys are equal to the Schwarber trade. They're a different team now with Schwarber than they were the first time we saw them, and this is what trades are all about. You want to fill some holes that you may have in your lineup or in your bullpen, and, boy, these guys have done a great job.

Q. The Red Sox scored three in the third inning, but it looked like they had a chance to score a few more there, second and third, one out. How big a point of the game was that just to stop them right there?

DUSTY BAKER: That was huge. Like I said, you want to stop those add-on runs, and that was huge on our part. Especially when we had the bases loaded early in the ball game and didn't get any. And I was hoping that when Maldi got hit -- there was nobody out, and I was hoping for multi-inning runs then. They held us to just one run, which kept them in the ball game, and so if you can stop those add-on runs, then you got a good chance of staying in the game and possibly winning.

Q. Going back to Javier, just with McCullers being out and how that kind of affects the rotation, just how important is Javier going to be going forward in the series to be able to continue to go in those --

DUSTY BAKER: It just depends how many days rest he'll get in between, which is one reason why in the last series I think we carried 12 pitchers. And this time we're carrying 13 because we know we're going to need that extra arm. And so I hope we don't need him for the next couple of days because relieving is new to him, so we have to protect him and do the best we can and kind of space him out and make sure that he is healthy and safe.

Q. Kind of building off that, having some huge outs from your bullpen tonight, but having to go to seven guys, just how critical will it be to get some more length out of your starters as we go deeper into the series?

DUSTY BAKER: What's critical is to get -- they used up a bunch of guys too. We both used up a bunch of guys, but they have Pivetta who can take them multi-innings. They got a little bit of an advantage there, especially with him being a starter out there in the bullpen. So I think it's very important that during these playoffs that you pitch and use your pitchers accordingly to the ensuing and upcoming off days. So they space those off days perfectly so you can recharge and get your guys some rest before they got to come back in.

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