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October 2, 2003

Joe Torre


Q. I asked Ron Gardenhire if it helped you at all that you had seen Hawkins before when Soriano, Giambi and Bernie got the hit off him. Did it help them?

JOE TORRE: Well, they pretty much know LaTroy, that he has knockout stuff and his only problem in the past -- he's a whole lot better now -- has been with his command. But he threw strikes. I think he got behind Soriano; I think it was 3 and 1; and you know, he wanted to throw a strike. I don't know if that was the difference. But we had seen him. We know what to expect and they had seen him before. But I mean that was a huge base hit for us.

Q. Did the day off yesterday and the day off tomorrow, persuade to you use Rivera two innings?

JOE TORRE: No question, in fact we were talking about that very thing in the dugout, and I am not sure if there was no day off tomorrow we still wouldn't have used him in that situation. We were bringing him in whenever the circumstances were and even if it was a tie, 0-0, 1-1; we were still going to bring him in in the 8th. You can't do that on the road because you know, you have to -- once you put him in a tie game you automatically pitch two innings. But, yeah, the fact that he hadn't worked since Sunday was a big part of that decision too. When you take Andy Pettitte out with the kind of courage he showed tonight, it would have been tough to replace him with anybody but Rivera.

Q. This is a big win obviously, but does it help your club after the kind of game you played in the first game to win a close tough, tough game like this; does that lift the whole feel?

JOE TORRE: No question. These guys were pressing. They have 56,000 people out here who supported us all year long and the eight years I have been here. And you know, you wish they wouldn't try so hard. I was reminiscing with Paul O'Neill before the game when he talks about how tough it was for us to win a 5-game series back in '98 when we won 114 games. He said, "Skip, you had to have a meeting with us in the dugout." It's basically about just trying too hard and trying to do too many things. We were swinging too hard; trying to hit the ball out of the ballpark instead of just putting it in play and that inning all of a sudden, you know, once we got the runner to second, Soriano with the single and then Giambi with a huge base hit.

Q. You said on Monday that your biggest fear was a 5-game series. When it's 1-to-1 going into the 7th inning tonight, did you think about that tonight?

JOE TORRE: No. I am just thinking about winning the game. 5 or 4-game series, it doesn't matter. You certainly don't want to get behind, down two games. And just wondering how many times he's going to go to the well. We got him in trouble the one inning with the error -- I don't know what happened on the ball to Soriano. Looked like he had it then looked like he lunged for it. I don't know if he was blocked or the ball moved. He just pitched his heart out and that last inning, the 7th inning he was didn't look like he had as good a command, he started getting some pitches up so Mel and I talked about it. We were just going to come with Moe at that point. But 5-game, 7-game, you know, short series; either way you don't want to get behind two games to none.

Q. Before the game you refused to divulge what you said to the team during the meeting yesterday. Now that you have won can you shed a little light on what difference it --

JOE TORRE: Probably nothing, you know. Probably nothing, but I am not going to divulge. The thing I will divulge is that Wells is going to pitch Game 4 and we told him. Mel told him before the game today. I had said early on that it would probably be him and I just didn't -- for no particular reason other than if a right-hander or lefthander was so outstanding and you know, the way Mo pitched the other day and knowing that they have a lot of left-hand hitters that you know, it won't matter.

Q. The hit by Soriano in the 7th seemed to kind of lift the lid a little bit. Do you almost -- could that kind of have the same effect for you in 2000 when you lost the first game to Seattle then were shut out for a while; did that almost feel like that to you?

JOE TORRE: I thought about that tonight believe it or not, that you know, we couldn't do anything. We couldn't push a run across. We didn't come close to threatening anybody. Yeah, I thought about it. I am not sure if I thought about it at that instant, but certainly that went through my mind and knowing that all it takes is a hit. The whole mood of the dugout, everybody who was you know, sort of saying let's go, you know, it's -- you realize how tough they are. They don't give anything. They did tonight. Hawkins threw a ball away but normally they don't give you anything and we really didn't do a great job of being able to manufacture, and the first inning we had them on the ropes and we basically let them off with just the one run.

Q. Is Jeter's shoulder okay and also you just referred to Pettitte's courage, can you talk little bit about that, how many times it's happened since you have been managing this team, when the team really needed one, Pettitte came through?

JOE TORRE: Yeah, and yeah, Jeter's shoulder is fine. There's nothing wrong with him. Andy Pettitte, a couple of years ago when he had that bad first half, I can't forget, for a guy who had never been in postseason as a player, when I see Andy pitch the way he did against Baltimore and down the stretch in '96, then that game where he beat them 1-0, the Braves in Atlanta, that's so much in the bank for me because I put so much value on someone who pitches under the stress that he pitches under. Even when he had that malfunction in Boston, where he threw the ball away and almost threw another one away, that had nothing to do with his not being able to handle pressure. He just had a bad inning. But I don't think I can trust anybody more than I trust Andy. As I said earlier, I know he was fighting Mel to want to stay in the ballgame, so I felt, again taking nothing away from the rest of our bullpen but when you bring Mo in I think he's the only one you could have replaced him with the way he was pitching tonight.

Q. After a big strikeout for Jason in the fifth inning, in the 7th he's certainly able to breathe a little easier. Did you give him a pat on the butt after the game?

JOE TORRE: I said to him, my job is -- it's a helpless feeling for I used to be a player and you had something to do with the bat in your hand you can do some things. I said we're going to have some fun in this inning. He winds up getting the base hit. That was big, especially with two strikes, not trying to do too much. Hopefully tonight he gets something out of that where he didn't try to hit the ball 9 miles and put the bat on the ball which he's very capable of doing. But again, it's easy for me to tell him don't try so hard but that's not going to do as much as that base hit did tonight.

Q. If you get the same situation Saturday will you use Rivera two innings?

JOE TORRE: Let's see what happens. I don't know, I think the game is going to pretty much dictate what we do. Three-run lead. You know, maybe not with a three-run lead. But in that situation, I had lefty, rightie, lefty. If I brought in a lefthander, and the first guy gets on, now you pretty much have to leave him for the next lefthander and there's a rightie in between. That was an easy call for me today since he was warmed up. But again, if we have an opportunity to win a game in a 5-game series like this, yeah, I don't think I would hesitate if I felt that you know, this is what we needed to do. Keith Foulke pitched 3 innings last night and had no hesitation about it coming out there in the 9th inning today even with a 4-run lead. This is what you save it for. This is where you need to empty the tank and hopefully we will hit a little bit more on Saturday.

End of FastScripts...

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