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October 4, 2005

Joe Torre


Q. The effort by Mussina tonight, you certainly needed a big pitching effort?

JOE TORRE: I mean, he gave us, right there, we know he's around 100 pitches with everything he's had to deal with this year. When I left the dugout, I wasn't for sure if I was taking him out. When I said, "Let me get you a little help," he certainly didn't give me the ball, but he just sort of looked down. So I just decided to do it at that point.

Q. Could you sense something of a ice-breaking feeling when Cano's ball --

JOE TORRE: The kid had a great at-bat. His ability to hit the ball all over the place, and to me, the key pitch in that whole at-bat was, you know, Colon threw him a two-seamer low and away, and he just hit that ball outside the bag at third. That's not easy to do. To have that kind of an at-bat in that kind of situation was really something. He does have pop the other way, and when he hit the ball I thought it was going to be over Garrett's head, but it was huge for us. Got us off on right foot.

Q. Do you feel vindicated at all by the way Mussina played, your decision to hold him back on Sunday?

JOE TORRE: Vindicated? I didn't know I was up on anything. Was I being accused of anything? I was never served any papers or anything. (Laughter.)

Q. Losing home-field advantage?

JOE TORRE: This is just a game, right? This is just a game. You make decisions, you hope to hell they work out and sometimes when they don't work out it doesn't mean it was the right decision. But no, I don't feel any vindication, because you do what you think is the right thing and if it doesn't turn out, then what the hell, you try again the next time. You know we just felt that -- I'm just kidding with you. We just wanted Moose because of his experience to be No. 1. If Randy was available, obviously he probably would have gone there. We just felt, and I felt and my coaches agreed, that experience is so important, especially when you're opening on the road, and the fact that you want to at least give yourself a chance with a guy who has done it before.

Q. They only got the leadoff runner on base one out of nine innings, how much did that help take away all of the things you talked about that they could do to disrupt you?

JOE TORRE: Yeah, that's the whole thing. We know what they do when they put men on base. You even saw that there at the end when they were down four, three runs, they are still running. That's just what they do. They are very distracting. So the fact that it was more important for our starter to control the tempo of the game and get the men out, more so than worrying about holding them on. I think Mike paid special attention to that lead-off hitter every inning, and he mixed his pitches so well, and that's probably why his pitch out got up there in the sixth inning the way it did.

Q. The reason you got here by winning on the road, how much did that help you coming into this environment against a very hot team?

JOE TORRE: That's a good question. We are not intimidated on the road. And we didn't play well on the road early, because we didn't play very well anywhere early on. The fact that these two road trips were so pivotal in our getting here, going on the road really wasn't -- and other day when we lost on Sunday, nobody was bent out of shape at all. There was nobody that was moaning about, you know, not being able to go home. And again, I just react off the way my players personality seems to be, and these guys, it's like they know they have a job to do and they are going to go and give every effort they can.

Q. Just one out, but how important was Leiter's performance in that particular moment?

JOE TORRE: That was great. He faced Erstad, and when he threw Vlad out he had got strike two out on a breaking ball, Jorge made a hell of a play and Jeter made a quick tag. But to have him come back out and strike him out to start the next inning was very important, because this is really the first test we've had with Al Leiter in a situation. Certainly we have a little flexibility with him. If he's early, we can do that and leave him in the game, but when you get to the sixth, seventh inning, one guy is enough, and he pitched him very well and threw strikes and all of those things. But, yeah, that was a very big out.

End of FastScripts...

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