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October 12, 2002

Tony La Russa


Q. Would you comment on your bullpen today?

TONY LA RUSSA: Well, when you have to get four shutout innings, I mean, they were really good. But the biggest hero was Chuck Finley. I mean, we are a good defensive club, and some of those first couple of jams that he got into, that's so different from the way we play. For there to just be one run after all that mess, he really was the reason we won the game.

Q. Putting the winning run on used to be unthinkable and now it is almost a matter of course; you did it today. Would you discuss that?

TONY LA RUSSA: Well, as long as I've been around, all of those veteran managers I talk to, they all said, you know, that's one chapter in the book that did not make sense to them. If it didn't make sense to them, it didn't make sense to me. You just try and figure out your best chance to win. If you think you have a better chance someplace else, I think you have to -- I just learn from people that when they talked, they made sense. I think it makes sense.

Q. Back to the bullpen. Do the guys know their roles or is there more to it than that?

TONY LA RUSSA: Oh, I think any bullpen functions best when guys understand. But we have a lot of flexibility down there. Our guys, talk about Fassero and Steve Kline, sometimes if one guy is fresh, he can pitch in the sixth and the next guy pitches in the sixth. The other thing we have that's really good is all of our pitchers are good against the other-side hitter. You don't have to play the percentages all that much. All of our right-handers do a pretty good job against lefties and our lefties do a good job against right-handed hitters. You just have to watch the way it goes. I think guys have an idea when they are going to be used.

Q. On the bunt play by Ortiz that Tino fielded almost on the third baseline, what is supposed to happen there?

TONY LA RUSSA: Well, the fundamental there is the third baseman, he's in charge of the play and if there's any doubt at all, he comes in and takes the out. I think what happened with Albert, my guess, is that we were defending so aggressively with Tino and even the left-hander falling that way, that he saw Tino come and he went back. You know, he should have come in and taken the out.

Q. I'm sure you would like to today to savor the win, but facing Hernandez tomorrow, what do you expect from him in a big game?

TONY LA RUSSA: We have tremendous respect for him and he's got a lot of people on our ballclub that he's close to, like Edgar, for example. Listening to some of their conversation, this guy will enjoy being in that situation as much as any pitcher in baseball. Fortunately, I think that Andy has come so far, and he will enjoy being in that situation just as much. Hernandez, he will be very cool out there. Just look at his face, he will not be panicked. I hope he's a little nervous, but he's a perfect guy in that situation and I think with Andy, it's a great match-up.

Q. How much of a swing is there between Bonds home run and Marrero's home run? It almost happened too fast there; what's happening in between?

TONY LA RUSSA: Well, that was a real tough three-spot. Chuck had Aurilia 1-2 I think, walks him and he got behind and Kent gets a base hit. I mean, from where I was, I thought it was a pretty good pitch and he hits it in the bay. That shows you how incredible Bonds is. The way that inning played out, it just shows the Giants' ability. The good thing was that we had a really good bench today, and we were tied and the guys came in and everybody just said, let's just keep playing. That's what we've been doing all year. We got a big swing from Eli.

Q. What's the key to the next win, you're back to 1-2. What do you guys have to do?

TONY LA RUSSA: We'll think about it tonight and see if there's anything that would help us. I know we had to win this game today to make it a series. You go down 3-0, we would be brave and all that stuff out here tomorrow, but it would have been really tough. I think we made it a competitive series, but they are still in charge. So, I mean, we just expect another game like today. Most of the time when we play the Giants, games are just like this. We've got to find a way to solve Hernandez and Andy has to shut them down. I feel really good that Matt will get a chance to show what he's really all about on Monday now. I would rather be in their position, but at least we have a series going.

Q. Was there any explanation for the stuff going on with Vina and him not covering the bag and then not going after the ball that Edmonds caught?

TONY LA RUSSA: I think he started the game a little out of whack. I don't know. It's just we have a good defensive club and he's one of our best defensive players. I think what happened, when he didn't cover second, then anything that was hit anywhere in the ballpark he was going to go chase. So, then it got really interesting, because if it was anywhere close to him, he was going to be near the ball and there was some real escapes there. I think it looked to me like what he decided to do, he's just going to go after everything after that.

End of FastScripts�.

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