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October 6, 2004

Ron Gardenhire


Q. What were you thinking, was Joe running out of gas there?

RON GARDENHIRE: Well, that's the first time he's been into the third inning, but he was still throwing the ball 95, 96 miles an hour. He told us he wanted it. He just walked Cairo and he walked Jeter and got behind A-Rod I think and then had to come in with a pitch. But the choices are J.C. who has been kind of struggling, and Crane, the kid out there, and I didn't want to put him in that situation. And Joe was still flipping the ball pretty good. He's our closer. We know we tried to extend him a little bit but it's the time of year you have to do that. It just didn't work out for us. It's a little disappointing now. Joe feels terrible, but he did everything he could possibly do. Probably left him out there too long, but really, the options, I didn't like them too well, either.

Q. Did you think about pinch-hitting for Borders in that situation, being that you have LeCroy and you need another catcher?

RON GARDENHIRE: Then you get down to your last catcher. Matty, I'm not saying he can't catch but we had Matty in the game and we had him there. I don't want to go down to where I have no catchers at all left in the game, and we left Pat in for that reason. Plus the fact that Matty doesn't throw very well and if he goes, we have a chance for a lot of runs or people stealing bases and we try to keep away from that situation, especially late in the game.

Q. Is there a psychological feeling that you get an edge, being able to come back against Rivera?

RON GARDENHIRE: We also had the chance to take the lead there. The ball bounced out of the ballpark. I think we had first and third there. I figured if we ran early, if I pinch-ran for Morneau and we ran early with Koskie, Koskie would not get a chance to hit. We got two strikes, ran and Koskie gets the ball. The kid came up, two lefties in a row, banged the ball pretty good, so I thought, let him take a whack at him, he's a pretty good hitter and he just had a tough at-bat. He maybe got a little excited. But we had our chance there to actually take a lead and that one, we didn't get it and that hurt us and you carry on and you get extended in your bullpen and that's what happened.

Q. The ground-rule double, you could have changed the lead there, did that change the tenure of the game?

RON GARDENHIRE: If it stays in the park we have another run for sure and we have another play. That's just baseball. The ball bounced out of the ballpark. We still had an opportunity, we had second and third, infield is in and we have a good hitter up at the plate. Mariano can do that a little bit, he can make you chase a little, and that's what happens.

Q. If you had gone into the bottom half of that inning with, say, a two or three-run lead was Nathan staying in?

RON GARDENHIRE: I went into him after the second inning and once we scored he said, "I'm fine, I'm ready to go." Even after the game he said, "I wanted it. It was my job there. "It didn't work out. We overextended I'm sure. He wanted the ball but it just didn't work out for us. As I said my options was the kids and that wasn't fair to the kids and Nathan was still throwing the ball 96, 97 miles an hour and that's not too bad. You're just facing some very good hitters.

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