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October 7, 1999

Joe Torre


Q. Seemed like early on Andy maybe didn't have his stuff working for him. He got out of some key jambs in a couple innings and really got in a groove. Did you feel that way or do you think he had everything going from the beginning?

JOE TORRE: No, I thought he had his stuff right from the start. I think that Texas came out and they were very patient; they took a lot of close pitches. I thought he had good command right from the start. In fact, I was very impressed because he was like two balls, no strikes, and he was throwing strike one and they weren't swinging which means there was a quality pitch, too. So, no, I was -- I felt very comfortable with him out there.

Q. I wanted to ask, you have Ricky Ledee today.

JOE TORRE: This young man, he got us off the other night with a base hit and it was lost in the lights but he hit the ball hard and that was a huge contact at-bat. We needed a contact at-bat there. And, you know, we got more than we bargained for with the double, even though we stranded the runners: But that was a big at-bat. The young man grew up last fall, he had a hiccup here in the spring, and has come back to take the leftfield job basically.

Q. Joe, going back to the trade deadline, is this the reason why you stood so strongly behind Pettitte?

JOE TORRE: Well, what went on here, I know it's been well-documented. I haven't been a post-season player for ever, I never was in as a player, and as a manager, one time in '82. What Andy Pettitte did in '96 not only in the post-season games, but winning big games against Baltimore down the stretch when we had lost a lot of our lead, he showed me a lot about himself. So not having been in post-season myself, I really put a lot of weight on the games that count in October, and he has not -- he has not backed off on any of them. That Game 4 last year, Game 5 in '96 of the World Series, Game 2 last year here against Texas, he's pitched great baseball.

Q. You had mentioned before the series started that you wanted Ricky to get off to a quick start, just to get under his belt. Is this maybe even a little bit more than you bargained for? Even a better start?

JOE TORRE: Well, I was hoping for it. I think the picks -- the quick start was the other day when he hit that ball hard, knocking in Straw. But this was a big at-bat for him. There's no question this at-bat was probably even more important than hitting that double down the right-field line off Kevin Brown last year, because this was a very tense ball game and a very big ball game, a very big swing ball game for us. And, you know, he hadn't really been swinging the bat that well tonight. Helling made sure of that, that not too many guys did swing the bat that well.

Q. Can you talk about Andy pitching out of the second and third with nobody out?

JOE TORRE: I'll tell you, this is what I remembered about Andy. He makes big plays; he makes big pitches; he walked that tight rope. He did it in '96 and I sort of got used to seeing that. But when it looked like he was in jams that he wasn't going to get out of, he'd get out of them. And we were allowing a run to score with second and third, and he got the, you know, he got Clayton to come over the top of the ball, which was a big out for us. But he -- you talk about hitching it up. You know, earlier this year, that same situation, he would have had in his mind I think, you know, I don't want to give up anything, I don't want to give up anything, he would have maybe wound up walking somebody. I thought the big at-bat was McLemore, he was 3 and 0, he wound up striking him out. That was a huge out. It changes the whole complexion of the inning there.

Q. Can you talk about the emotion you were going through in the dugout in the fifth inning?

JOE TORRE: Everything was very tense. It's a lot easier playing than sitting there trying to watch it and knowing you don't have a lot to do with it other than pull for the people you have out there. But that was, I had a good feeling when he struck McLemore out, especially coming back 3 and 0. But I've seen Andy do it before. And when you need the count on him, he doesn't disappoint. And I just -- it was a big lift for us. There's no question. That and getting that extra run in the bottom of the eighth was huge also for us.

Q. Joe, talk about the strikeouts early in the game; six of the eight were called third strikes.

JOE TORRE: Helling had good command of his fast ball. He was taking what you were going to give him and my players came back, they thought some of those pitches were outside. But the thing was he -- he pitched with the fast ball tonight. He had trouble getting his curve ball over, and still we went up there and even if they did call strike three, you still had two other strikes to deal with and you couldn't get there. I was very impressed the way he pitched. Chili got the big base hit for us with the 3 and 2 count, because that put us in a position to score.

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