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October 4, 2006

Mark Kotsay

Esteban Loaiza


Q. Mark, can you just talk about your in-the-park homerun and what your thoughts were when you saw Torii run after it?
MARK KOTSAY: Initially when it left my bat, I felt the game got in on me a little bit, I thought it might go down, but Torii is a great center fielder, so I kind of hesitated for a second out of the box.
Once I saw it get by him, I took off and tried to stay as loose as possible running the bases, but when my third-base coach was watching me, I think I hit a wall and just gave it everything I have, showed a little more emotion than I am used to crossing the plate, but obviously, it's the playoffs and things are exciting, but the ball knuckled, and I think it took a right turn on Torii.
As a fellow center fielder, it's not a good feeling when you go after it and it takes off like that and gets by.

Q. Esteban, did you have a game plan for the Twins hitters, anything other than your usual game plan?
ESTEBAN LOAIZA: Well, normally I just want to go after him, throw pitches for strikes, that's my priority. The rest of my teammates, you know, they battled and got some runs, and my situation, I gave up two homeruns, which one was a good pitch, one was a mistake pitch, but we ended up winning the game, and it's just one of the things, we want to go out there and win, and we did, and now we go back home and relax for tomorrow and get ready for Friday.

Q. Esteban, do you feel like your pitching staff, in general, is -- can you just talk about how deep you guys are, if maybe that's something about this team that flies a little under the radar, like Ken was talking about Scutaro?
ESTEBAN LOAIZA: I mean, you know, we had our ups and downs all season long, you know, pitching-wise, I know I missed the first two months. I was not very good in April and the second month, I was on the DL.
I got to give it up to my teammates, giving it up batting, and this is what we have right now, and Mark and Scutaro, with Bobby being on the DL and Marco has been doing a hell of a job, every day batting and trying to get some at-bats and trying to get base hits and trying to get on base.
And every day I think we have a most valuable player, and it's not just one guy, but it's everybody going out there, batting, working hard and driving for balls, making good plays, pitching strikes, throwing strikes, getting people out, and great game with Zito pitching yesterday, and me going out there to battle and we got the win.

Q. Question for Mark: Being a center fielder yourself, given the circumstances, a tie game, two outs, can you talk about the decision that Torii is making at that point to try to go for that ball?
THE WITNESS: Well, once you commit, you are kind of in no man's land, and it's best to go, and he went, and for his sake, unfortunately, like I said, the ball took off, it got by him. If he had it to do over again, I think he would do it the same way because he is an aggressive outfielder.
I am an aggressive outfielder. We like to go get, and I think speaking -- I don't want to speak for Torii but if I was put in that situation, and had a great break on it, and felt I had a chance or an opportunity, I would have gone after it, and I think he would sit here and tell you the ball, whether it was knuckling -- I don't think it was knuckling, I think it caught a seam and got away from him, and if it hadn't have caught the seam and gone away from him, I think he would have caught the ball, and they were out of the inning.
He shaved me a little bit on the back of the bag, and I am pretty sure he got a great jump on it, and that's what made him commit for it.

Q. 2-and-0 going home, what do you think about that?
MARK KOTSAY: Definitely giving us an opportunity to take advantage of a situation. We are not going to look past the next game. Our focus is to go out and work out tomorrow, have a good workout, and focus on Radke. He is a great pitcher. He has been in these situations before.
The Oakland A's have been in this situation before, 2-0 in the series. So there is some history here.
Obviously, it's a new group of guys. Other than maybe four or five guys with Zito and Chavez leading, those guys who have been in this situation before, we know, as a club, and we have battled all year, we have had our ups and downs, we have gone through a lot, as Esteban was saying, and there is a different guy every day so hopefully we can take that into Game 3 and we are not looking past Game 3, obviously.
We know we have the challenge ahead of still going at it and winning one more game in this series.

Q. Esteban, they are in the 6th when you gave up the couple homers. You were getting up towards a hundred pitches. Did you feel tired at all?
ESTEBAN LOAIZA: No, I was not getting tired at all. I wanted to go out there and battle and work out. Foul, foul, after foul, and throwing that cutter, I wanted to go low and away, and it went right down the middle for a homerun, and the other one was a great pitch. Cutter inside, expecting to get it very well, and we ended up tying the game, and they ended up tying the game, and I just wanted to go out there and battle and throw strikes.
And it's baseball, you just never know what's going to happen or when it's going to happen, but at the end of the game there is a winner and a loser, and we are the winner today, and we got to go back to Oakland, relax tomorrow, and get ready for Game 3 on Friday.

End of FastScripts...

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