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October 11, 2000

Joe Torre


Q. As the innings mounted, what was it like in the dugout?

JOE TORRE: Very relaxed. We've been through it before, but still, that human element takes over when everybody tries too hard. You can see a bad umpire's call, guys are jumping up and spinning around. We don't normally react like that. I think a lot of it was the tension of the situation, and the thought of going on the road 0-2. It is something that we've done before, but it's not something, certainly that you look forward to.

Q. Would you talk about letting Posada swing away? Was there any thought of bunting?

JOE TORRE: Everybody with these bunt questions, it's driving me nuts. Give somebody a bat -- that's a given. Guys who have not bunted all year, you think, well, it's just go ahead and lay one down. But strategically, you have a left-handed pitcher on the mound, and you're going to bunt with your right-handed hitter to give a left-handed hitter a chance to knock a run in. To me, I didn't want that. Not that it didn't make sense. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. When I looked at that lineup, and there is Tino hitting against a left-hander with a man at first base, but you walk Georgie and get to the left-handed hitter again. My feeling was with those hitters coming up, they are the ones that can knock in the runs for us. I know we have not scored a lot lately, but they are still going to have my nod of the head to go ahead and knock in the runs. Tino had a big at-bat, 3-2, hit the line drive to left field, that was just a great relief for us to score the runs.

Q. The slump-busting eighth inning, you've seen this team respond with various big innings, how do you think this will carry over into Seattle?

JOE TORRE: I just sense that we relieved a lot of pressure today. We understand there's pressure involved. As I say, we were very uptight, but we've played that way before and we've been successful. We know we're better. I think that's what frustrates everybody. We obviously know that we're better than the way we've been putting runs on the board. Hopefully it carries over. There's no question you are going to enjoy an off-day a whole lot more after you win a ballgame especially coming from behind. Halama pitched great and Rhodes did the job last night. This is something that's going to go on for a while. I think it is going to be a hell of a series, and you just want to make the other team beat you, as opposed to beating yourself.

Q. You've been saying for at least a couple of weeks that you thought the offense was going to come through, seven innings today, did you still have that confidence?

JOE TORRE: When you look on the bench, who are you going to replace my guys with? These are the guys that you believe in. These are the guys that have gotten us here. A lot of other teams are sitting at home watching this stuff, so I have a great deal of confidence in this team, and the only concern I have is when they try too hard. I can't just say, "Relax," because I know one time Jeter walked by me and I said, "You guys are really trying," and he sort of looked back and smiled. You try to find ways to just turn that knob, but that's the human part of this game. That's what makes these athletes so unique, because in this game you have to be intense without being tense, and it is a very fine line.

Q. The big inning looked like all of the hits were either up the middle or to the opposite field. Was that an indication guys were staying within themselves?

JOE TORRE: No question. It's something that -- we have that type of team. I thought a big at-bat was O'Neill against Rhodes. He hit the ball hard a couple of times today but the sacrifice fly in that situation was big for us, it gave us the two-run lead. But mainly, we're single hitters. We're not guys that just sit back there and whack at it, even Jeter's home run to the opposite field. That's our plan, most of the time and we were able to put it together in the eighth inning.

Q. You can't underestimate the job El Duque did, it was the subplot to the whole thing, wasn't it?

JOE TORRE: The first inning when we had bases loaded and nobody out, you have a starting pitcher sitting there anticipating we're going to have a one -, two-, three-run lead and to see Bernie Williams, who runs very fast, stick that ball in front of the plate and all of a sudden it's a home to first double play, and the air was let out of the balloon, but he went out there and took the challenge and did a terrific job. I mean, he does this time and time again, and I know you're not surprised by it, but you still marvel at it.

Q. Can you comment on a short series, how suddenly one minute it looks like you're 0-2 going to Seattle and in a minute it is Pettitte and Clemens, 1-1?

JOE TORRE: There is no question when we lost that first game in Oakland, everybody is saying, uh -oh, and we were talking about that before the game, you win this game and all of a sudden we're going home to play two games and we're in the driver's seat, but when you get in a short series, momentum changes very quickly. If we go out there and win on Friday, that means that we have to come back here. So there's a lot of incentive now at 1-1, as opposed to going out there 0-2. And as I say, we did that in '96, but it was not a whole lot of fun. We'll enjoy the off-day tomorrow. We're going to work out, but this will be the first legitimate off-day we've had in probably five weeks.

Q. When Bernie hits that in the first inning, was there a sense of disbelief in the dugout?

JOE TORRE: I said to Zimmer, "Have we seen everything yet?" This was just added to the list. Again, it is more comical than feeling sorry for yourself. You get nothing done feeling sorry for yourself, but we looked and we figured ways how not to score runs, and this was another one of those ways. And you could see Bernie and I knew Bernie was 0-for-9 against Halama, and again, he is tricky with the breaking balls and changeups and he can sneak a little fastball by you. But in that situation, I thought a great at-bat by Justice gave the situation we wanted, bases loaded and nobody out. But you look at it, you scratch your head, and you're frustrated, but it was huge to have El Duque go out and do what he did.

End of FastScripts....

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