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October 20, 2001

Bret Boone


Q. Just wanted to find out, did Lou Piniella's guarantee help focus you? You seemed to be locked in tonight; it's one of the greatest nights of your career probably, did that help?

BRET BOONE: You know, the fact that Lou said that, I mean, I think as a team, we felt good. Usually when he says stuff like that, I mean, he means it and he truly believe it. He doesn't just throw it out to try to fire us up. He truly believes that. He's been around all year and seen what we've done. We went down 0-2, and to a tough, tough team and we know that. I think it was just big for us tonight to come out and they got the big home run early. But I talked to Jamie in the middle of the game and I said, "Hey, way to keep us in the middle of the game." We found a way to come back and score a few runs and open the game up a little bit.

Q. Sometimes when a guy is not having any luck, sometimes a bloop hit is what breaks it loose; is that what happened you?

BRET BOONE: I don't know, I was lucky. I had a tough Cleveland series, the first series; there's no way around that. But sometimes that happens. I mean, this is such a tough game. But I had an off-day between series and I worked on some things, and I really felt great since the next series has started. I know the two games previous to this one, I only had one hit, but at the plate I felt as well as I have the entire year. So, yeah it was nice -- sometimes when you get that chinker, sometimes things open up and you feel a lot better about it, but I've been feeling a lot better the last two or three days.

Q. Lou said that hit relaxed the entire team; did you feel that and had you felt frustration building before that?

BRET BOONE: It's been frustrating for me personally. The first series, we ended up winning the series and at this stage of the year, with all we've been through, it's all about winning games and how you are doing personally. Of course, personally you always want to do well, but it's about wins, and we won that first series, and it's been a little bit of frustration, for all of us, for all of us on the offensive side because we have not been really producing like we have all year. But the hit, the blooper that fell in was big. I thought the biggest hit of the game was when Olerud stepped up and hit the home run and gave us a lead. I thought that really got our bench fired up and the guys saying, "Hey, we are back in this thing." There's a long way to go, but tonight was pretty crucial, being down 0-2. You go down 0-3, you're in big trouble. Tonight was a crucial game and we got the win. Enjoy this a little bit, but tomorrow is going to be another tough one. With Roger going up out there, we're going to have to find a way to even this thing up.

Q. In Game 2, Torre had intentionally walked Ichiro to face McLemore; how important today was it that he delivered?

BRET BOONE: He's been great. He's played so many different positions, made some great plays and gotten some big hits. And Ichiro, well, this guy got close to 250 hits this year. I think you look at his percentage with runners in scoring position, and I think he led all of baseball. He just for some reason has had a knack for hitting with runners in scoring position and I think that's all he was going on. Here is a guy that hit .350 and had 250 hits. There's going to be some respect shown there, and that was huge, huge. McLemore comes up and hits that huge double to give us a comfortable lead at the time.

Q. Could you talk about the kind of stuff that El Duque had in the first couple of innings and what you think happened to him? Did he hit a wall?

BRET BOONE: For me El Duque is always tough. Especially I can only talk about being on the right side of the batter's box. He is deceptive and he hides the ball real well. When he's hitting his spots, you know, I haven't faced him that much, probably three or four outings. But the times I have faced him, it's never comfortable. So I think, you know, we got the bloop hit, a couple walks here and there and the next thing you know, we're in business. You know, we are fortunate tonight that he walked a few of us and gave us some opportunities, so we came up with some big hits. But as a right-handed hitter, he is always going to be tough.

Q. I know John had been struggling, he had been 0-for-8 before that home run and he tends to be a quiet by guy, but did he have something to say after hitting that home run? Did you guys have anything to say to him, particularly about breaking out of the slump?

BRET BOONE: No, John and myself have been going back and forth the whole post-season. When I hit the home run, he said, "Hey, welcome to the one home run club." But he is such a good guy and such a good hitter that there's no rhyme or reason. Sometimes in the post-season, or any time, of course in the post-season, when you are not getting a lot of hits, it's going to be magnified. But here is John Olerud, one of the best eyes I've ever seen at the plate and just a truly great hitter that had a bit of a tough time. He's a quiet guy. He doesn't say much. But tonight he came up big. No, there really wasn't much said. Just in fun.

Q. When the ball left your bat on the home run, the bat flip seemed more defiant than celebratory; was that the case?

BRET BOONE: At that stage of the game, I think it was 7-2, I'm not trying to show anybody up with that. My bat usually flips when I hit a ball good. That's just the way it was. When I hit it I knew I hit a home run. I'm going to hit it and run out of the box and that's just the way it is. That's just something I do. Certain players when they hit balls, they just flip their bats. That's what I've always done.

Q. Again, Lou was saying that single you had, the tie relaxed the whole bench. What did that do as far as relaxing you for your next at-bat?

BRET BOONE: I think at the time, just the ball jammed me, and I knew when I hit it, it had a chance to fall. When it fell -- it just made me feel a lot better that it's 2-2 now, more than anything. I haven't been -- I've been -- of course I want to get hits all the time. But I've been feeling fine at the plate. I mean, who knows, maybe that was the beginning of something for me. Maybe it wasn't. But I don't feel like I've been up there pressing right now or trying to do too much. I mean, I feel comfortable at the plate. It's just that I have not been getting any hits and I've been taking some good swings lately and I have nothing to show for it. I'm popping balls up and fouling balls back, and sometimes you go through that and that's part of it. I was more relieved, the fact that it was 2-2, that's the only thing that went through my mind is that it's tied up and now we are back in this game.

Q. Can a 14-run game officially end a slump or do you have to see what you do in Game 4?

BRET BOONE: I think it was -- the fact that we won 14-2 tonight, I think it was important for our offense to get back to swinging the bats the way that we are capable of and had some guys get some hits and feel better about tomorrow's game. But by no means by winning the game 14-2 tonight do we think we have a big edge tomorrow. These guys have been the epitome of what the post-season is about. We know they are going to shake this off and be ready for us tomorrow. It was nice to get a lot of guys tonight involved in the offense and feeling about their things, and that was the most important thing -- actually winning the game was the most important thing.

End of FastScripts....

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