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October 4, 2003

Derek Lowe

Trot Nixon


Q. Trot, for someone who is bemoaning his lack of timing the other day at the plate, how surprised were you to come up in that situation and do what you did?

TROT NIXON: I wasn't too happy with timing the other day. The past couple of days I felt a lot better by taking batting practice. Jerry Narron and Dana Levangie have a knack of getting guys, their bat speed up to par. I knew Harden, he's a power pitcher, he's got a phenomenal arm, and I was looking for a fastball, hit something, to give Mirabelli an opportunity to get around the bases. I just got under one. He left it up. I got under one. I hit it good on the bat, and I got a little gust of wind from the Lord up there and it ended up going out of the ballpark.

Q. Derek, a huge performance for you tonight from the get-go. Everything seemed to be between you and the first baseman. Talk about that a little bit?

DEREK LOWE: It was a game plan that we stuck to from the beginning. They are a very patient team, especially early in the count, and then they get aggressive. Our game plan was to throw a lot of strikes to get into pitcher's counts. He felt very confident with his sinker, No. 1, and trying to stay focused as much as you can, especially the way Ted Lilly pitched tonight. He pitched a tremendous game. There were a lot of crazy incidents that happened in the game. Keep battling. When ground balls are going, that's fine, you're always one pitch away. But as a team, to battle all night long, and we get to play another one tomorrow.

Q. Trot, do you think that home run will be a turning point?

TROT NIXON: I sure hope so. This series wasn't going to be about how many runs the Red Sox are going to score. I think a lot of people saw we had a great offense. We had a great offense during the season. They have great pitching over there. They know we have a great offense, and we know they have a great pitching staff. In the playoffs you have a tendency to see a lot of pitching duels out there, and I think it's going to continue for the rest of the playoffs and hopefully it can jumpstart this offense. I think most guys just want to go up there and have good solid at-bats, hit the ball hard and put it in play. I haven't been to many playoffs, but the situation is obviously dictating your emotions, tends to take the best of you when you get out there in certain situations. You want to hit the ball 600 feet, you know. I asked the Lord to calm my emotions before I went to that plate, because I knew if I was going to go up there, I knew I was going to hit the ball off the Dunkin Donuts sign and ended up rolling over the ball. I stayed through the ball, I didn't pull it, and I think that's what helped me more than anything.

Q. It was a great thrill to hit the grand slam in Philadelphia (September 1). But was this a whole different level?

TROT NIXON: Yeah, by far. These are the playoffs. It was a must-win for us. All the home runs you have during the regular season and your career don't mean much unless you start hitting home runs in the playoffs because this is what you work for all year during the Spring and the season to get to this position, in the post-season, and to just hit that home run tonight -- it's tops on my list, but the top thing is to get to the World Series, and we've got to win tomorrow if we want to get anywhere close to that.

Q. Trot, just the difference about having the series back at Fenway and the emotion of the fans and all that.

TROT NIXON: Our fans are the greatest in baseball. They can be tough at times, but they are the greatest, and I think tonight that was evident. Usually in playoff situations, your 10th man is going to be the crowd and it's a tough crowd out there in Oakland, but it's such a gratifying feeling to come home and have our fans just geared up. You would have thought that we were up 3-0 in maybe a World Series opportunity right here, but you never could have said we were down two games to none. Our fans are phenomenal. They're going to be phenomenal for years after I'm gone and it's a great feeling to be back home. We played well all year at home and this has just carried over in the playoffs again.

Q. Trot, what did you do to stay ready to get in the game and at what point did you start swinging the bat?

TROT NIXON: Pretty much in September, late August, I think, but I hit whiffle balls in the weight room and one of my trainers, Chang Lee, he goes back there and pitches to me and just gets my hand/eye coordination going. I haven't been the greatest pinch hitter in my career. I think I worry a little too much when I'm not playing, and so I just thought maybe I can infiltrate this, get me a little bit loose, because we don't have a cage here obviously, here at Fenway that we can go to to get loose, get your body loose, and I just do that out there cheering these guys on.

Q. You talked about saying a little prayer before you went up there to make contact. Tell us what you were thinking when you were up there and when you hit it.

TROT NIXON: When the ball was in the air, I was hoping Byrnes would run out of room and then I asked the Lord to pick them feet up of Mirabelli. He's not exactly fleet of foot, but just to get him around those bases. And then when I saw it go out, emotions took over. Obviously I know that the Lord answers -- you know, he answers prayers and definitely tonight he answered another one my prayers. That just gives me an opportunity to allow me to honor him.

Q. Derek, would you talk a little bit about how bizarre that inning was when they got the run?

DEREK LOWE: Bizarre pretty much sums the whole inning up. We got a high chopper, it gets through, it worked out. You can say we got a break, but you look back at Game 1 and Ramon Hernandez bumps one off the top of the plate. If it doesn't hit the plate, we make the play. It's breaks. We got one tonight and they got one in Game 1. You can't overlook the play Varitek made in the 6th inning blocking Byrnes from the plate. Varitek is the best in the game at doing that. Varitek saw the umpire. He never gave a safe or an out sign. If he touches home, he's safe. If Varitek touches him, he's out. So it was a crazy two innings, but only getting out of it -- giving up one run and keeping this offense in the game, it was a big inning.

Q. Talk about pitching over 40 pitches in the first game. Did it affect you at all coming into this game?

DEREK LOWE: It helped me. If I hadn't pitched in that game I would have been on nine days' rest. Being a starting pitcher, that's a long time. To get out in the game action, it wasn't the most successful outing in the world, maybe to get some post-season nerves out of your system, but knowing full well you will be completely healthy for this start. You work hard all year to go out and have success for your team.

Q. Trot, would this be this generation's version of the (Carlton Fisk) home run from 1975?

TROT NIXON: All I can say is I sure hope so. Tomorrow you've got another tough task and Hudson coming out there and we're at home, though, right now, he's going to be geared up to pitch against us here at Fenway. I specifically remember the first time when he came in here as a rookie. He did a phenomenal job then. But in the same sense, we're kind of geared up, too. We've got a little bit of life left. We're still fighting for our lives again tomorrow. So we'll just leave it at that. Hopefully, history can dictate itself again this year.

End of FastScripts...

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