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October 8, 2003

Mark Prior

Randall Simon


Q. This question is for Mark. Mark, it's nice to have the offensive support you did, but how important was getting out of that second inning jam, when they had second and third and nobody out?

MARK PRIOR: For me personally, I think that was probably the most important part of the game, because I think their team had built up the momentum. They're a scrappy team and they're a good team. And to get out of the second inning with no runs, and just kind of take a little air out of their balloon or whatever you want to say, I think it was big for us. And Randall came up with a great hit, and I wanted to get back in there with 2-0 lead. And they came back in and scored three. It pretty much gave me a comfortable lead, and I was able to go out and just throw.

Q.. Randall, can you describe for us what Sammy's home run looked like from field level?

RANDALL SIMON: I've never seen anybody hit a ball like he did. One thing is that talking about it, me and Goodwin, I was telling him that I think Sammy is going to hit a long one right now. And we turned at the same moment to see a home run hit that far, it's like, that's impressive. I've never seen anything like that, it's unbelievable.

Q.. This is for Mark. They had some pretty good swings against you tonight, both hits and outs. What was your impression of them as batters the first time you faced them? And did you have your best stuff tonight?

MARK PRIOR: Well, like I said all along, they're a good ballclub. They have a good offense. I wasn't taking them lightly in any way. There's some balls that I made some mistakes on. Obviously with a ten-run lead you don't necessarily pitch with the same intensity sometimes that you would have liked to. And I found myself falling into that trap of not keeping my intensity up. But like I said, they're a good ballclub. They made contact, they do make contact. They're not guys that strike out very easily. They sit and fight and make adjustments with two strikes. But like I said, they're a good ballclub and I wasn't -- I'm not all that worried. I think in a lot of situations where they hit balls hard, especially late in the game, were pitches where I was trying to throw strikes. You never want to get in a situation where you walk guys or get wild or do anything to give them a chance to get back in the game.

Q.. Randall, you had a two-out, two-run single in Game 3 of the Division Series in the first inning to put the Cubs up 2-0. You did the same thing tonight in the first inning? Is that the situation you relish as a hitter?

RANDALL SIMON: No doubt. All the time when you go out there you try everything to win. And I know that we had a tough one yesterday. But I know that we got our best man on the mound, right there, so we know the only thing we needed to do was get him some runs early. I know that as soon as you do that, it's going to be tough for them to beat them. And I know that that's all we're thinking at the moment, try to put the ball in play and find a hole.

Q.. When you're pitching with an enormous lead early in the League, do you alter your game at all, and maybe hold something

back in your patterns or anything else for a potential next start, do you change at all?

MARK PRIOR: I won't say I held anything back. I find myself falling in the trap of losing intensity. And sometimes it's tough to keep it up when these guys, they come out and give me a 10-run lead. That's what every pitcher dreams of. If anything, it gave me a chance to work on things. Playoff games aren't necessarily a chance to work on things. But I got a chance to work on my change-up and throw it in there and see guys' reactions to it, which was nice. And it's a pitch that I've had, and I don't usually use a lot in the course of a game for whatever reason. It just seems to -- we never call it or never throw it. When I do throw it it's always been effective. We threw it a lot more in the later innings, just to keep some familiarity with it and just be comfortable with it when I go to it again.

Q.. Randall, you're hotter than heck in this series, and now you're going to sit this weekend for Eric. Eric was hotter than heck last week, and he had to sit for you. Talk about that situation.

RANDALL SIMON: I love it. He's been doing an awesome job, and I still thank Dusty to believe in me and put me in there, too. You see in the earlier series he did an awesome job. I think the most important thing is for us to win. And I think I'm enjoying it and I'm thankful for me to be in this situation. So I think us playing together like that is awesome. I think that's the best thing ever. I'm having a great time with it. And I know that I enjoy seeing him out there. It's a great thing for us, for our team. And I think that is the key to our success in this last couple of months. So it's awesome.

Q.. Mark, down one game to nothing, how important was it to have a good outing?

MARK PRIOR: Obviously it's important. You don't want to go down and be 0-2, and going to Florida. Especially with us being home team advantage, you don't want to give it away. I was pretty confident coming into today's game. I knew these guys were going to be out swinging the bats like they've been doing the last three or four weeks. So it was a big game for us. It's a big game, I think, for both sides, because now you put these two games behind us and you start over, and it's another five-game series, and I think that's the way we have to look at it. These two games are over, and in my eyes we start Game 1 down there and go from there.

Q.. In the playoffs the Cubs so far are 4-0 when you and Wood pitch, and 0-3 when you don't pitch. Are you starting to feel that or what do you feel of that trend?

MARK PRIOR: I think it's a coincidence. Zambrano pitched well in Atlanta, and gave up some singles here and there. They didn't hit Z hard in Atlanta in Game 2. They scored some runs, and that was a good ballgame. The other night Matt, there was an unusual game for him. For me it was just a weird game, especially this time of year to be so warm and have the wind blowing out, especially after we were up here last weekend and it was 40 degrees. Yesterday, you just knew the ball during BP, something was going to happen, and it was a slugfest. It didn't matter who was pitching, it was going to be a slugfest. I don't think anybody is worried about those guys. Wood will throw on Friday, and Matt will throw on Saturday, and Z will step up and be ready to go on Sunday.

End of FastScripts...

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