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October 16, 2009

Joe Torre



Q. Andre has come through in the clutch so much this here with clutch home runs, walk-off home runs. Do you think Happ was maybe being a little careful with him in that last at-bat when got in the winning run?
JOE TORRE: I don't think there's any question, you get in a game like this and you're careful with every pitch you throw because it doesn't take much to get a lead or lose a lead.
But I was really proud of that at-bat that Andre had with the fact that he got behind in the count, the shadows out there had to be tough to see. He laid off it looked like some tough pitches away, and at 3 and 2 it's tough when your mentality is swing, swing, swing to take a pitch, and it was huge.

Q. After Pedro shut you guys down through seven innings, was there a sense of relief when he came out of the game?
JOE TORRE: You have to. You have to. I marvel. As much as you always hated anybody with a Red Sox uniform on, you always admired how well he did his job. Today it's remarkable for not pitching as long as he -- since the last time he pitched, he was -- you know, a little bit like Maddox. Their stuff isn't similar, but he seems to be able to read the hitter. His ability to throw a handful of different pitches with varying speeds, I mean, that's what the game is all about, just being able to upset the timing. Even though he doesn't have the same velocity he once did, he did a masterful job today.

Q. When you see Chase Utley make those throwing errors, A, how much does it surprise you, and how can something like that develop, do you think?
JOE TORRE: Well, you know, you make a bad play. That's part of it. We want everybody to be part. I don't think there's been that perfect game that we've played yet. Pitchers pitch perfect games, but I don't think anybody has ever played a perfect game.
I think Belliard may have had something to do with it, going in the second hard on this one today. Last night it didn't look like he had a grip on the ball. That's part of the game. Errors are part of the game and strikeouts and all that stuff.
I mean, I'd certainly like to have his problems. He's pretty damned special.

Q. Talk about the job Vicente did out there for your team, keeping the guys in the game even though the offense was struggling. Talk about that kind of an effort and what kind of lift that gives and hope that gives your offense?
JOE TORRE: Well, I'll tell you, he had pitched well for us, and then he went into St. Louis last week, and it's the first time he had ever pitched seven innings for us, and then today he winds up going deeper.
The other day when I took him out after seven he was ready to go back in again. He has been a horse. He has gone out there -- and today, keeping the game close which gives you an opportunity to make the most of what opportunity you do get, he was unbelievable.
I mean, those are the types of games when you look back on them, you're talking about guys who can handle pressure and guys who really rise to the occasion. Both Pedro and Vinny today, there was no room for error. Plus it was like 100 degrees out there where they were doing what they were doing. He was something. He was really something.

Q. Russell hasn't sacrificed much this year, and that at-bat --
JOE TORRE: Tell me about it.

Q. He's kept trying, and I guess it was just dumb luck what happened there. Break that whole thing down.
JOE TORRE: Well, at that point in time, I know it's not something he's comfortable doing. We're going to have to attempt it in that situation where we get the tying run to third base and less than two out. He's working on it. He's softening it a lot better. But again, it'll come. In fact, when I shook his hand after the game, that was the one thing he said, he apologized for the bunt, or the lack of it.
As I say, he's not going to be asked to bunt very often, but there are certain situations, just like Belliard, we're not going to ask him to bunt the way he swings the bat, but you try to apply a little pressure when you can.

Q. Do you guys approach this game tonight like a must win after what happened yesterday and then moving forward throughout the series?
JOE TORRE: Every game is a must win. I'm of the school where you get home-field advantage but I think there's a great deal of pressure that comes with playing at home because you're supposed to win. My guys don't know fear, that's all I can tell you.
Last night the way we kept bouncing back, today they kept going at it, going at it. The Phillies are world champs for a reason. They play hard all the time and they slow the game down when they need to.
I really admire what Charlie has done over there and how even winning a World Series doesn't keep them from wanting more.
But today certainly was needed. You don't want to go into Philadelphia, they're very tough in that ballpark, and have too high a mountain to climb. Hopefully we can go in there, and Kuroda is going to have to pitch a good game. He's going against Cliff, so it's going to be a good series.

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