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October 29, 2009

A.J. Burnett


Philadelphia Phillies 1
New York Yankees 3

Q. A.J., how gratifying was it to pitch this well in a game of this magnitude?
A.J. BURNETT: It means a lot. After last night I just wanted to come out and set the tone early and be very aggressive. My key was strike one tonight I think. I threw a lot of first-pitch strikes and that allowed me to open up and expand the zone after that.

Q. Cliff was saying he just felt everything was working. Did it feel that good for you and what does it mean to you?
A.J. BURNETT: You know, actually I sat and watched his interview when he was on the field and he talked about confidence and he talked about belief in his stuff, and all I told myself last night and today was the same thing. I went out tonight with confidence, and just, you know, the game just rolled by. I was in a good rhythm. Stairsy hit a good pitch to get his RBI but it never stopped me, and I just continued to stay in that rhythm and just continued to try to get strike one.

Q. In 2003, if I'm not mistaken, you had to watch the World Series with your arm in a sling maybe and you were a great cheerleader and a great teammate. Can you contrast how you feel right now versus how you felt in Florida?
A.J. BURNETT: It makes it all better. It was a great time that year watching my friends that came up when I came up early, and we were at the bottom of that division. When you see your peers doing well, it makes it better.
But on the other hand I wasn't in a sling, actually. The workout before the World Series was my first day clear to long toss, so that kind of made it even worse because I kind of felt like maybe I could pitch. But nothing compares to today. That was the funnest I've ever had on the baseball field.

Q. How good was your curveball tonight?
A.J. BURNETT: You know, it was on. It was on, and when I can throw that for strikes, it's a big difference. You saw that. We were able to get ahead, and I think earlier they were looking for it, and I was a little off with it down low as an 0-2 pitch but once I started getting in the zone it really opened up. That's big for me. You can ask anybody, when he's throwing his hooks for strikes, it makes it a lot tougher.

Q. After the way your last start went, how important was it for you to get through that first inning unscathed and get yourself feeling your rhythm?
A.J. BURNETT: It was important. I wanted to come out intact. I wanted to come out and feed off this crowd and feed of the energy and not try to just be calm. I think I've done a good job of being calm in situations, but I wanted to make it a point to come out with some fire tonight, and I think I did that.

Q. In the first two rounds you talked about CC setting the tone for the series. Was it a different feeling for you or different pressure for you coming out here knowing you had lost Game 1 and having that 0-2 hole for the series?
A.J. BURNETT: It wasn't pressure. I knew it was a big game. It's no lie. It was the biggest game I've ever thrown in for this team. But at the same time you can't let that affect you and I tried not to let it affect me. CC threw a great game last night, seven innings, two runs; you couldn't ask for any more. I knew I had a big task ahead of me with Pedro on the mound, and I wanted to go out and pitch the best I could.

Q. To clarify, you said you watched Cliff's interview. Was it on television in the clubhouse?
A.J. BURNETT: Yeah, I watched his on-the-field interviews.

Q. Was that something unusual for you?
A.J. BURNETT: I was walking back to the kitchen and it was in one of the back rooms.

Q. Did you say you felt like you had to match him tonight?
A.J. BURNETT: Cliffy? No, Pedro. Cliffy, he was a man against boys last night. He talked about confidence a lot, and that was huge for me tonight going up against Pedro because you know what he's going to offer. He's going to throw strikes and he's going to make our guys work a lot, and that's what he did tonight.

Q. You helped make a Game 5 possible. Do you feel like you're ready to start for the Yankees on three days' rest in Game 5?
A.J. BURNETT: If I'm called on to do that I'll do that. I've thrown on three days in the past. I'm a big fan of it. It was midseason when I did it not October, but I feel strong right now and I'm up for anything, absolutely.

Q. You've talked a couple of times during the post-season about how it compares to what you'd imagine it would be like pitching in the playoffs. Pitching in the World Series, was it like what you had imagined or what was different or how was the intensity today compared to what you thought?
A.J. BURNETT: It was way more than what I thought. You try to prepare for yourself for these games and this city and this crowd and the team you're going up against, that's an outstanding lineup right there. But I think I fed off the crowd tonight. They were up every time I got one strike, they were up every time I got two, and instead of over throwing, I kind of just stayed within myself and they started to cheer a lot. They were cheering all the time, but when I struck guys out they really got loud, so I was just trying to keep that going for them.

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