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October 27, 2021

Dusty Baker

Houston, Texas, USA

Minute Maid Park

Houston Astros

Postgame 2 Press Conference

Houston - 7, Atlanta - 2

Q. Dusty, what makes Altuve so good at kind of forgetting the slump he's in? Obviously, he came here not getting the results he's wanted. What makes him so good at compartmentalizing and putting that aside?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, he's good. When you're good, you've just got to -- I don't know. That's what professionals do. When you know you can play, you have to. I mean, you have no choice.

My dad used to tell me it's okay to get down, just don't stay down. So he didn't stay down.

Q. When you were looking out with the open roof really for the first time in a World Series game here in a long time, what did the ballpark feel like and the crowd? It seemed like it was even more energized tonight.

DUSTY BAKER: Well, they knew that we needed that game, and the roof being open, I mean, rarely is it open. Usually it's not that cool. Usually it's humid and muggy and you welcome the roof closed. So it was different.

They told us it was going to be a much stronger wind than there was, and I'm glad there wasn't because we really don't know how to play with the wind and the roof open at the end of the day.

Q. The rally in the second inning was a little uncharacteristic for you guys offensively, but what was it like watching that unfold? Just the singles and pushing the tempo on the bases and just sort of allowed you to take control of the game.

DUSTY BAKER: Like Reddick used to say, it happens fast here, and it happened fast. It gets to be like a feeding frenzy, and everybody wants to get in on it. I was just hoping that we could score some more because you know they were going to threaten before too long.

You never really feel comfortable during these playoffs and the World Series. You're always wanting more.

Q. After the struggles Urquidy had in Boston, what did you see differently from him tonight that let him have success?

DUSTY BAKER: Had we turned that double play up all hopped up on Altuve, it would have been a 1-0. So did he struggle or it was just circumstances happen? He got out of that. He started out fast, I mean real fast, and we knew we had to keep a close eye on him because he's really still just getting into shape because he was out a long time in between starts. So we knew that we had to watch him around 75 to 80 pitches.

Q. You were talking the other day about Sparky inheriting the Big Red Machine. You said you've inherited this group. Is this the most talented group you've had, do you think, in terms of the depth?

DUSTY BAKER: I've had some talented teams, but something always would happen along the way. The Bartman play, and then the play in Washington where we just got hit in the face with the bat off of Javy Baez. So, yeah, this is a very talented group.

The difference between this group and some other groups that I've had is the fact that they're always looking for something good to happen. In Washington we had a very talented group, but they had lost in the first round before I got there two or three times, and so therefore you start looking for things to happen. This group looks for good things to happen and expects good.

Q. Dusty, to kind of play off that, you've seen the four guys in your infield from afar in the postseason and you've seen them now the last two years up close. What stands out about the way those guys play in these kinds of games that kind of separate them from everybody else?

DUSTY BAKER: Like I was saying, they expect good things to happen, and they expect to play well. They expect to do good. I found that out last year. We had some guys struggling, and they said, well, wait till the playoffs, and we barely squeaked in. They said, hey, man, we're going to turn it on in the playoffs. I haven't seen many people in this game who can kind of turn it on when they want to.

Come to mind like Barry Bonds. He's like I'm going to take over this game today, and he takes it over. Rickey Henderson says, hey, man, I'm going to steal three or four bases, and I'm going to take this game over by myself. Like I said, you don't find many players like that, where they have the ability or the mindset or the mind control to do it.

Q. Before the game, you mentioned law of averages. Obviously, you wanted to win no matter where it is, but what would it mean to finally win at home?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I didn't even know we had lost all those games at home, to tell you the truth. I'm used to winning at home, and we won at home all year. So when you lose a few games, you just figure, hey, man, it's time for us to win.

Like I said last night, these guys don't worry. They weren't worried about last night. I mean, some people in this room thought the series was over already after one game, but it's a seven-game series.

Q. Dusty, can you just talk about the base running in general, especially the speed of a guy like Jose Siri, how much that also helps you guys?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, it helped big time. Speed -- Willie McGee and the Cardinals, they used to always tell us that speed kills. Speed makes you do things you wouldn't normally do. It makes you rush. It puts pressure on the opposition, where you have to catch it cleanly and throw it and have someone catch it cleanly on the other side.

That was some exciting stuff that Siri did. I always tell him he reminds me of Cesar Cedeno, the fact that he can appear out and in some kind of way be safe. You've got to be -- you've got to calculate it, but you've got to be daring, and you can't be afraid of making mistakes.

Q. Just on Cristian Javier, how valuable has he been for you this postseason, and how much has he embraced his role that he's been in for you out of the bullpen?

DUSTY BAKER: He's been the bridge guy many times. He keeps the score where it is, whether we're behind or whether we're ahead. Sometimes bridge guys come in and throw gasoline on a situation, but he's come in and put the fire out most of the time and given us a chance to win.

He's been very, very valuable. His demeanor is such where you really can't tell if he's in trouble or not. He has the same look on his face all the time.

For a young guy, he's very cool.

Q. I was going to ask you to follow up on Siri, how much when he's out there and he's being daring, as you called him, how much can that really kind of change things out there?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, it does. You can run into mistakes, but you can also create mistakes. He played a good game. We still want him to -- as soon as he finds a way to make more contact, he'll be even better. That's his only downfall right now, but he's young. We've got this guy off the waiver wire, and he was in the Minor Leagues.

It's a long ways from waiver wire and Triple-A to the World Series, and he's handled it pretty well.

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