October 7, 2003
CHICAGO, ILLIONOIS: Game One
Q. Mike, after you went down with your injury, it looked like your season might be over. With that in mind, how satisfying is it for you sitting here after hitting the game-winning home run?
MIKE LOWELL: Very satisfying, I think that's an understatement. I know I had to kind of urge the doctors a little to let me play that last game, but that was very important to me, because I was told my hand was going to be getting significantly better each day. My goal was to at least see if I could swing that last day, and keep getting better through batting practice. I think things worked out very well.
Q. After you guys fell behind 4-0 in the first, what was said in the dugout?
MIKE LOWELL: I think our main goal was to try to hold them there, and try to scratch and claw, maybe pick up one or two runs at a time. We blasted back in that third inning. It was a huge momentum swing, being down 4-0, and going up 5-4. And it just kept going back and forth. It was weird. This was an exciting game. Two outs in the 9th with Sammy up, he came through for the crowd. It was like a boxing match.
Q. You had plenty of time to sit on the bench and watch from afar. What is it about this team, the resiliency that you possess that you can come out from big deficits and pull out victories?
MIKE LOWELL: I think because we've done it during the course of this season makes you a believer. We were able to come back from deficits before. If you do it once, you believe you can do it again. I don't think that's the formula for our success, to go down to see if we can come back. We weren't intimidated by being down, we knew there was 8 innings left. We thought we could come back. We have good speed up on top, and guys in the middle that can drive and run. The ability to come back is there. You can have all the rah-rah you want, but I think we have guys that come through.
Q. Can you describe the greetings you received in the clubhouse after you touched home?
MIKE LOWELL: It was the biggest home run I've hit. So I just -- I don't know, I was just looking at Kenny Lofton, hoping he didn't have a bead on it. Just things worked out nice. I don't know, I can't explain it. It was just a great feeling, to come back, and they had the lead, and we take it back, and it was a great 11th I think, and we came home with a victory. It was huge for us.
Q. On the 11th inning, did you feel Guthrie was eventually going to come in and you were going to get in the game, and what kind of pitch was it?
MIKE LOWELL: I was just prepared to have the at-bat. I'm not used to the pinch-hitting thing. My main focus was to stay loose. I was running up and down the stairs, and stretch and make some dry swings in the clubhouse to be loose, basically from the 7th inning on, because I didn't know. I can't say I know it was going to be hit off Guthrie. I was just ready for the at-bat. And my main focus was to get something up and try to
drive the ball. It worked out. I don't consider myself a home run hitter, but I feel I can hit it hard, and that was my focus.
Q. You guys are facing Mark Prior in Game 2. Do you have any thoughts on Prior?
IVAN RODRIGUEZ: What we've got to do is just do the same thing we did in Game 1, just be aggressive and make him throw the ball down. He's tough. All their pitchers are tough. We've just got to concentrate on the ball, and put it away.
MIKE LOWELL: I think Prior has established himself as an elite pitcher. I think we have to do the little things right. If we have a runner on third, less than two outs, we have to get the runner in. I think the game dictates that. Today was more of a slugfest, but we don't know what it's going to turn out to be, but it's going to be tough. He's a tough pitcher, but I think Brad Penny is capable of having a good start, too.
Q. Can you talk about your two-run single? It looked like a tough pitch on the outside.
IVAN RODRIGUEZ: I just tried to bring one guy home. And the pitcher is great. He started with a fastball inside, and he threw me two fastballs away, and then the one that hit the right field, it was a very tough pitch. But I was able to locate it pretty good, between second and first base, and I just -- that was a big hit for us. It was a situation you have to put the ball in play, and in that situation I just tried to bring one guy home. We got lucky enough that we got two guys home.
Q. You looked so relaxed at the plate, how well are you hitting the ball right now?
IVAN RODRIGUEZ: It's not easy, I just try to concentrate, and have nice swings and just wait for my pitch, basically. I know in the series with San Francisco, I just tried to stay back and use my hands, and basically that's what I did tonight. Early in the game he broke my bat with a pitch up and in, and the next time he threw me a fastball. And the last one, I just tried to stay back and use my hand and basically I don't do anything difficult, I just see the ball, and try to hit it back to the middle.
Q. Having that first victory under the belt, how much does that do for you guys confidence-wise, and put your guys in the driver's seat?
IVAN RODRIGUEZ: It's nice to start with a win, and now we're 1-0 in the series. Tomorrow we're going to face a tough guy in Mark Prior. And basically we've got to just try to do the same thing that we did. We got behind 4-0, but I told Josh to stay focused and strong. And after that he pitched five or six innings, and we got the lead. It's nice. It's always very nice to start with a win. And now -- it's not comfort, now we've got to go and concentrate, and try to win tomorrow, too.
Q. Josh, how did you compose yourself after the first, and what was the attitude like in the dugout?
JOSH BECKETT: I'm sure most people saw that, it wasn't good for me. Sometimes when you've got the adrenalin stuff, less is more. And you've got to tell yourself you've got to go out and do less. You go out and try to do too much -- I'm not using that as a crutch or excuse, but I was starting to do too much in the first inning, it elevates the ball. And they do what Big League hitters do to elevated balls, and they did it. That was it the first inning.
Q. Josh, some of the emotion when you were pounding away at the bench after that first inning, did that help you focus? Did someone say something to you afterwards to get you calm after that first inning?
JOSH BECKETT: Yeah, Pudge cleaned me out a little bit. No, he helped me focus. That was actually after the second inning. After the first inning, like I said, I went out there, in my mind I was going to try to do less. And it worked out for four innings, and then less wasn't enough anymore. This is a great hitting team. They've hit me well all year. But I'm looking forward to my Game 5 start, and hopefully things will be figured out a little better.
Q. Josh, could you talk about kind of the atmosphere of pitching at Wrigley Field, the electricity, what was that like for you to step on the mound and see everything around you in a historic ballpark like Wrigley. Does it catch up with a lot of players?
JOSH BECKETT: I don't really let it affect me that much today. We get paid to do a job, and that's what I was trying to do. The first inning, maybe I was a little too strong, with adrenaline and stuff. You can't let that affect you. We get paid to do a job, and that's what we should do.
Q. Today set the LCS record with seven home runs. As a pitcher how do you describe a day like this?
JOSH BECKETT: I don't know, it was a bad day for pitchers. I don't really know what else to say. I was not very good today. Like I said, I've got to pitch Game 5. I have to keep that in mind. I'm not down on myself. We get to this stage in the season, I think winning games are the most important thing. So it doesn't matter how you do it, whether it's -- you pitch a shutout or you give up five and go five innings, and your hitters pick you up, I can't say enough about those guys. The home run by Mike Lowell obviously sticks in most people's minds. But we got some other big hits. We came up with a five run, I think it was the 4th. And it was big for us.
Q. You've just said twice that you're looking forward to your Game 5 start. Which game are you conceding to the Cubs and why?
JOSH BECKETT: Oh, that's true. Like I said, I've just got to prepare myself for Game 5, that's what I was saying. No matter what happens. I like Brad Penny against these guys, though, he's got great stuff, he throws 200 miles an hour, and has a great curveball and change-up. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's game. I guess I jumped the gun on that.
Q. I thought it was because Mike Prior was going, and you were looking beyond there?
JOSH BECKETT: I don't know what he's going to do there.
End of FastScripts...