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October 5, 2004

Jacque Jones

Johan Santana


Q. Could you tell us your thought process as you're flying back to come to this game tonight?

JACQUE JONES: Just to come back and be with my teammates, show my appreciation for these guys, they have been great. This type of grief that I've been going through with my father, they have been there for me. They have been calling. They were there for me the two days I was in Minneapolis and I wanted to get back to these guys and show them how much I appreciated them and I wanted to come out here and be there for these guys.

Q. Ron Gardenhire said there was a feeling that you would do something special tonight; did you think you could do something like this tonight?

JACQUE JONES: You know what, I just wanted to be here, like I said. I knew once I got here, I would be ready to play. After the first two at-bats, you guys probably know, I don't do too good against Mussina, so I was kind of ready tonight. He left a pitch up that I could get to and I hit it pretty good and it went over the wall.

Q. You pointed?

JACQUE JONES: Oh, yeah. You know who that was for.

Q. Johan, both your coach, Ron Gardenhire, and Joe Torre said you might not have had your best command tonight. Did you feel in the first few innings that you were getting some help from the Yankee batters, chasing bad pitches?

JOHAN SANTANA: All I know is these guys are good. You know, you have to be careful, you know with, them because if you make mistakes, then you have to pay for it, and I think you know, I was able to throw the right pitch at the right time because I know that my teammates can make some plays. That's the way we are. You know, that's what this team is all about. We play defense, we do pitching, and then you know, you have to be lucky sometimes, you know to get good hits against these guys because they are good. Tonight we proved what the team, the Minnesota Twins are all about.

Q. Johan, how significant was it to win the first game against the Yankees and how do you feel about pitching the first game in the series against the Yankees?

JOHAN SANTANA: It's always good. It is a great feeling, you know, to beat the New York Yankees, one of the best teams in baseball, but also it's good for the team because now we know, taking Game 1, we go back home and having a chance to win the division, it's going to be tough but that's what we want. I feel pretty good.

Q. Could you tell us what you were thinking when you were running around the bases, and what you recall of your teammates coming out to greet you when you scored?

JACQUE JONES: Just a lot of excitement. I haven't had too many things to be excited about the last couple of days. Just a relief, picking Johan up, he's pitching his tail off, every one counts for him. Sometimes two runs is like a hundred runs, the way he's been throwing the ball this year. Like I said before, my teammates have been great. They were probably more excited about the situation than I was. That just goes to show what kind of teammates I have. I mean, to me I have the greatest teammates in the Major Leagues. It's like a family. Every last one of them has been there for me at this time.

Q. Would you talk about your double play pitches tonight?

JOHAN SANTANA: Well, you know, a lot of people were expecting me to get strikeouts and get whatever, but, you know, it was all about throwing the right pitch at the right time and then stay focused, stay composed all the time. Not trying to overdo things and then just trying to make the right pitch. Turned some double plays that just killed those innings right there, and Torii did a great play, a double play. That tells you what kind of team we are. That's the way we play, you know, defense and play the game the right way. Tonight, we showed how to play the game.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your dad and your memories of him and what you think he might be thinking now?

JACQUE JONES: I know he's excited. He's watching me like he always has even when he was here with us. He tried to see me play as much as he could and every chance he got to, he came down to see me play. I'm really excited and I appreciated it. I play the game hard and I play every day and I play for my family members because those are the ones that are going to love me whether I play well or whether I don't play so well. I know he's excited, and I'm excited.

Q. Did the cold weather have any impact at all on your command or your feel of the baseball tonight?

JOHAN SANTANA: A little bit. I mean, it was cold out there. Plus, it takes a lot of time between innings, you know, and it was tough to stay loose and stay in the game. But I was able to battle with it and then get the pitches we need.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about this being your first post-season home run and getting a big hit off Mussina that you've had trouble with?

JACQUE JONES: Yeah, I've had trouble the last couple post-seasons with balls falling in and getting hits and getting hits off this guy. It just seems like this guy is channelled into my head and whatever I'm sitting on, he throws it opposite. Whenever I sit on the opposite, he throws what I should have hit. I don't know, different pitchers in this game have different hitters' number and hopefully this is the start of something good.

Q. Is there any particular situation you remember that you were most proud of or you were most concerned about that you were happiest to have gotten out of tonight?

JOHAN SANTANA: You know, through the first inning, through the whole game, there was some situations where I just told myself, you've got to do it, but, you know, throw the ball over the plate and then just let them make the play because that's the way we are. And then you know, I had a lot of confidence on myself and things that I can do, but I also had a lot of confidence in my teammates and all of the things that we can do as a team. Everything just worked out pretty good. I mean what can I say? It's a great feeling and this is just Game 1. We still have some games to go that we have to play the right way.

Q. A little bit more, were you battling location a little bit tonight?

JOHAN SANTANA: A little bit. I mean, as a pitcher, all I want to do is make sure that you hit your spots. These guys are pretty good. These guys are very aggressive when they are on the plate, you know, and you have to make sure that you locate your pitches because if you make a mistake, it's going to cost you. And then I think, I stayed aggressive all the time trying to throw my fastball on the inside and throw some change-ups and the slider. But most of the times I just stayed inside with my fastball and they were swinging. Just like that, we were able to get out of those jams.

End of FastScripts...

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