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October 5, 2004

Joe Torre


Q. Can you talk about the defense of the Twins tonight and how did they play?

JOE TORRE: You know, they are a complete ballclub. We know that. They have always been well-coached, well-managed. And you're right. We had many opportunities, five double plays and the only way you can turn a double play is to catch the ball and make the play. Santana probably didn't have his best stuff tonight but when he needed to get a ground ball, he got it.

Q. What was your plan bullpen-wise tonight and was your preference Rivera or Gordon?

JOE TORRE: Yeah, we got the game that close and we were getting opportunities every inning, and with the off-day on Thursday there was no doubt in my mind I was going to have Gordon in the game, and Mo also. I wanted to keep it at that score and give us the opportunity to get it back. I didn't think it was a problem to pitch them one inning each and if we had tied in the ninth Mo would have pitched one more. I felt at that point in time we were getting opportunities, but we were not able to cash in, but I just wanted to keep the score there.

Q. Can you remember a playoff game quite like this for you guys, to hit the ball hard in just about every inning and constantly come away with nothing?

JOE TORRE: I can't say I have. You know, it was one of those things. We felt good about ourselves, we were aggressive, we were patient when we needed to be. All of those things worked right, but the final score didn't work out well. I mean we had five double plays in every which -- we contributed in a lot of different ways, strikeout, throw-out, a potential sacrifice fly, and you know ball even sailed on Torii out there; he jumped up and still threw the runner out at the plate and three balls pretty good for the ground ball double plays. It's one of those things. We were prepared to play, we played well and all of the questions early in the game, earlier today about our pitching, you know, Mike Mussina was terrific. I mean two, runs in seven innings, that's pretty good, but not good enough.

Q. You mentioned Santana perhaps not having his best stuff. How different was he from other times you've seen him?

JOE TORRE: I probably have said -- he throws the ball 94, 95 miles an hour, but probably location. He probably didn't locate the ball as well as he did against us last week or as he has in the second half, and that's, you know, that's what pitching is all about, is location. As I say, when he needed to get a ground ball, he certainly got one.

Q. You didn't know about El Duque after we talked to you before; do you know about his bullpen and how he came out of that?

JOE TORRE: Yeah, he didn't bullpen; he played catch. You know, no change. It's still, you know, a fingers-crossed proposition for the end of the week.

Q. Could you just talk generally about the way the kid fought you, on a night when he didn't have his best stuff?

JOE TORRE: Well, no question, he's had limited experience, the experience in post-season last year. He's got a lot of poise out there. I think that what really has to impress you is the fact when you're not locating the ball and he's obviously spoiled everybody on his ballclub the way he's pitched the second half, that in a post-season game, he kept his cool. He didn't fall apart. As I say, we tested him, we made him work hard. And when he needed to make that pitch, he made it, even though we hit some balls hard, they were hit on the ground.

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