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October 11, 2002

Ron Gardenhire


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Ron Gardenhire.

Q. Your pitcher's battling, didn't work. Two swings of the bat were basically the difference.

RON GARDENHIRE: I don't know how to describe that. That was a great baseball game. I mean, you feel really proud to be a part of something like that. We pitched very good. They pitched very good. They made some great plays at the end. Very exciting. I'm very proud of my baseball team. I'm sure Scioscia's proud of his baseball team. You have to be. Does it get any better than that? ALCS right there, 2-1 baseball game. They hit a home run. We're facing the best closer in the game. When we hit line drives everywhere, they dive and catch them all over the place. Pretty good baseball game.

THE MODERATOR: Want to say anything about Eric's performance?

RON GARDENHIRE: Eric Milton was outstanding. He battled right along with Mr. Washburn, like we knew it was going to be, two left handers just chugging away. Eric got up to around 120 pitches. That was about it for him. He was worn out. We took him out. I thought he did great. He pitched through a lot of tough innings there, got through some jams - especially in the last one. We threw everything we had at them, we really did.

Q. Is it getting frustrating not having any sort of a break-out scoring inning or stretch? You've had two runs, three runs, two runs.

RON GARDENHIRE: Well, you'd sure like to . Frustrating, no. As long as our guys are going at it as hard as they're going at it and everybody's trying to put good swings and good at-bats, in all honesty, when you're facing great pitching, it's really hard to have break-out innings. Washburn is as tough as they get. To get two hits in an inning off that guy is pretty hard. We scored a run off him, two outs, double off the wall with our left-handed hitter, Jacque Jones, who everybody said I should bench any way. That was pretty good, I thought. We scored a run off the guy. It's tough. Sure you'd like to break out and score . They didn't do it either. Neither team is busting out. That's what happens when you got good pitching and good defense. These are great baseball games. Very exciting.

Q. Any second thoughts about using the four pitchers in the seventh inning and having to leave the left-hander in against right -handed hitters?

RON GARDENHIRE: J.C.'s been our guy in the eighth inning all season long. He's faced lots of right-handed hitters. No, we had to get through that inning. I don't know if you paid much attention to their bullpen, but if you give up a run there, it's pretty much "Katie, bar the door." You don't want to get into their bullpen late in the game. You have to stop it. We did everything we could to stop it. I made all the moves I thought I had to to try to get through that inning. J.C. is going to pitch the eighth inning there. He just got to pitch up to Glaus there. He gets righties, lefties out. Look at the numbers, that will tell you. He just got a pitch up there, and the guy hit a home run. I don't think we did too much wrong there really. Two home runs, two runs and a game. Our guys pitched pretty good.

Q. Your thoughts on Francisco Rodriguez?

RON GARDENHIRE: (Laughing) It's like I said, you don't want to get behind these guys late innings. You have to do everything you can to stop them from scoring a run because you know they've got some great pitchers. We feel the same way with our bullpen, but the kid just goes out there and he lets it fly and he makes some quality pitches and he makes it real tough on you. They've got a few other guys that can do that, too.

Q. Being used to that extremely loud crowd at the Metrodome, is there anything you can say about the crowd here?

RON GARDENHIRE: They were fantastic. That was a great crowd. They were into the game, very exciting. Those things that they're banging can get very irritating, but I'm sure our hankies get irritating, too. We just wanted a bunch of pins, start popping them. But it's actually really cool to sit in the dugout, look up in the stands and watch the people standing and cheering. That's what the game's all about. We play the game for the people. Don't ever lose sight of that. That's who we play it for. They're the reason we're out there playing, so we play the game for them. Them standing up beating those things, whether you're home or on the road, that's what it's all about. That was a great atmosphere tonight, great baseball game.

End of FastScripts�.

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