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October 8, 2007

Paul Byrd

Grady Sizemore


Q. What was the feeling in the dugout after you hit the leadoff home run?
GRADY SIZEMORE: I think it was an exciting feeling. Obviously, I tried to build some momentum early. You want to jump on them as fast as you can and take the wind out of their sail.

Q. Are you guys starting to get a special feeling over there in the clubhouse? Obviously you listened to Wedgie all year and what he's preached, but now you're at a different level. Is there something going on over there? Something special that you're feeling?
GRADY SIZEMORE: Yeah, it's exciting. It's a close group of guys that play well together, and we're having fun. This is what you dream of. You want to play in the postseason. When we broke camp this is where we wanted to be and we believed we could do it.

Q. Paul, last time you were kidding about it a little bit, but the amount of confidence that your manager invested in you to come out and pitch tonight while you have two 19-game winners in the wings had to be a big boost for you, didn't it?
PAUL BYRD: Yeah, it was. It made me feel great. I told reporters earlier I came to the press conference last night and they asked me two questions. The first one was, do you think he should have gone with C.C., and the second one was if they would have gone with C.C., how would that have felt? And I waited for question three, and there wasn't one, so I walked out of here feeling like a loser (laughing). And told my wife, you know, hey, you know, I think I'm a pretty heavy underdog.
So, you know, but just I had confidence out there in our team, you know. We've played well as a team all year long. This team's like family. I think you can tell by the way we celebrate and pick each other up and it's an absolute blast to be part of.

Q. You changed your pitching style tremendously to become a winner right now. Explain what happened.
PAUL BYRD: From the season, you mean?

Q. Not just this season, but from previous seasons.
PAUL BYRD: Oh, yeah. I've always had to change my style. Just being right-handed and not throwing very hard. Breaking stuff's average, so I try to be deceptive, switch it up, try to swing my arms a little bit, try to bend over at times and just get ahead in the count, you know, throw strikes.
And facing the Yankees is an amazing lineup, so I knew I couldn't make very many mistakes. Just able to get a few big pitches with guys on base, and it worked out.

Q. What's going through your mind in the early innings there as the Yankees are piling guys on bases? Blake made a great play to save you a run and Martinez made a great play down the line probably saving you another.
PAUL BYRD: I feel the temptation in those moments to try and strike somebody out. That's usually when I leave the ball over the middle of the plate, just trying to muscle it. So just trying to keep making the pitches, cutters, back door, and got a few outs on changeups. But they really put the pressure on early.
They have amazing fans here in New York. I think another one of my goals was to keep their fans out of the game. I didn't want to start walking people and hearing the crowd go crazy with each ball, things like that. So the fact that we were able to put up a six-run, you know, first couple innings on them where we're up 6-1, I thought was huge.

Q. What is your feeling about Boston going into that?
PAUL BYRD: I don't know that much right now. I think I'm just trying to celebrate and enjoy the moment, and we'll study Boston and figure all that out later. But nothing's tougher than coming into Yankee Stadium and pulling this off.

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