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October 30, 2021

Dusty Baker

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Truist Park

Houston Astros

Postgame 4 Press Conference

Atlanta - 3, Houston - 2

Q. How much did you kind of feel like those missed chances you guys had in the first four innings would really come back to bite you?

DUSTY BAKER: They usually do, and I usually pick those runners up. We left quite a few runners on base. I think we left 11 on base, and then we didn't have a whole bunch of chances other than the first four innings.

We really had them on the ropes in the first inning, and we came out of there with one. Our bullpen did great. Javier's been outstanding, found too much of the plate on a two-strike count to Swanson, and then he hung a breaking ball on the inside to Soler. That was the difference in the ballgame.

Q. How stunning was that seventh inning to where you guys are on the verge of tying this thing, and then all of a sudden with two hits this stadium gets going again and the Braves are one win away from winning it all?

DUSTY BAKER: We usually try to really concentrate on winning the seventh, eighth, and ninth, and they won the seventh and the eighth. That got the crowd excited, especially we knew that short wall in right field would come into effect sooner or later, but we were hoping it would come to our benefit, but it came to theirs.

I thought that Alvarez had a shot. That would have been a fantastic play.

They've been playing us tough. They've been playing us real tough. We've got to win tomorrow. We've had our backs to the wall before. Our guys know what to do. There's not a whole lot to be said. We know what we have to do. We have to win tomorrow.

Q. When Alvarez fielded Riley's hit in the sixth, in your view, what would have been the ideal way for that play to unfold? It seemed like he wasn't really sure.

DUSTY BAKER: The ideal way was to take the cutoff man. I thought that we had Riley at second base. I thought he came off the bag. It looked like from our view and from the video, I thought -- I was surprised when they called him safe.

You could tell that Freddie Freeman was going all the way trying to draw the throw. We just didn't execute the way that we usually do.

Q. Because of the nature of the game, you faced some important pinch-hit decisions. Wondering if you could shed some light on Greinke batting for himself in the third and also Marwin from the left side in the fifth when he struggled from the left side.

DUSTY BAKER: You only have so many choices. Greinke swung the bat well. He got the pitch that he was looking for, and we really needed to stretch Greinke out some because we've been going to that bullpen like super early every day.

Marwin was a choice at that time because I knew I was going to have to save Diaz later in the game. You can second-guess all you want to, it's just a matter that was my decision. We had left some runners out there prior to that.

Q. Dusty, could this be one of those rare times where you may have to tinker with the batting order? I'm thinking about Bregman's spot in particular.

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, I thought about it. I'll let you know tomorrow when I make the lineup out.

Q. You love so much about the group you have in that clubhouse. What do you lean on as you face this uphill time with a 3-1 series deficit?

DUSTY BAKER: You lean on your past. These guys, we were down 3-0 last year, and you lean on that, and you lean on the other series that they've come back on. You really don't have any choice but that.

You know, how small is your faith if you just crumble under every circumstance? You've got to have faith that you can do it, and it will get done.

Q. Dusty, given how good your bullpen's been in the postseason, how surprised were you to see the sixth and the seventh? Especially Javier, given how good he's been his whole two years in the postseason.

DUSTY BAKER: None of these guys are perfect. They could have popped those balls up, but they didn't. These things happen. That's why you play the game. Nobody's infallible. It can happen to the best of them.

We've got a young staff. A lot of these guys have been places where a lot of people will never go. All they can do is just learn from it.

Q. You mentioned sticking with Greinke. Four innings isn't a ton, but for the postseason he's been having, it really is. I'm just curious what you make of that performance and particularly him getting stretched out to four innings.

DUSTY BAKER: He was great. Like I said, we were going to take him as far as he could, and we took him to that point. He was dealing, and he threw up some key double plays. He was vintage Greinke.

And don't forget, Greinke is an outstanding hitter at the same time, and that's why we stuck with him.

Q. When you compare just the run production that you had during the AL part of the postseason and then how stingy the Braves have been this round, how much of it is the Braves pitching, and how much of it is the collective approach of your guys at the plate?

DUSTY BAKER: You know, like they say -- I've said it many times. They say good pitching beats good hitting, and then when you don't hit, they say what's wrong? And they've been pitching good against us. They've been pitching great against us.

Q. After Zack, what was the thinking of using Stanek instead of, say, Javier?

DUSTY BAKER: It takes Javier a whole inning to get loose. He's just now learning how to get warm as a reliever. That's why we used Stanek at that time because he gets loose rather quickly. We'd have had to give Javier almost a full inning, which we did and which we usually do to get loose.

Q. When Rosario makes that catch like that, is that one of those times where you just say things aren't going our way?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, they haven't been going our way most of the series, but he's an outstanding player, and he's a really good outfielder. That ball had topspin on it. If that ball had backspin, then the game would have been tied. But he made an outstanding play.

Q. What did you know about Kyle Wright, and what did you think about how he pitched coming in when he did?

DUSTY BAKER: We didn't know a whole bunch about him. We know he's been up and down. We know he has outstanding stuff, which we were told and which we saw in the video.

We were also told that sometimes he can get wild with his pitches. Tonight he threw the ball well.

When he came in and got out that bases loaded with that sinker he threw in on Carlos, we could tell right there that he had good stuff.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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