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October 9, 2010

Phil Hughes


Twins – 1
Yankees - 6

Q. Can you talk about what kind of stuff you had tonight? Also just the idea you were touted is the such an a young age as almost like a can't miss guy. Does it seem like a long time to get to this point?
PHIL HUGHES: First question, I felt like from pitch one I knew I had my good stuff. It was a matter of kind of keeping my emotions in check and making sure I threw strikes and was ahead in the count which I was able to do for the most part.
I kind of had my lumps as a young guy coming up in this organization. It certainly wasn't easy in '07 being hurt. '08 was a disaster. Then being injured at the end of that -- I felt like last year being in the bullpen really helped me. I got that confidence back. I knew this was something I could do. I really feel like that propelled me into this year.

Q. Can you take me through the fifth when you sort of lost the location of your curveball, how you got through that?
PHIL HUGHES: My curveball wasn't great all night. I was able to throw some decent ones when I had to. But those innings where you have runners on base and you're in those jams, you have to find your way out of it. I couldn't go to my curveball late in counts because it wasn't as sharp as I would have liked. But I fought through it and was able to get out of those innings. I think those innings with guys on base are really sort of the key innings in getting through and having a good outing. Being able to put up zeros, it makes the job on our offense a lot easier.

Q. Veteran pitchers even talk about closeout games and the pressure. Obviously guys don't win tonight, tomorrow it could snowball. How did you stay -- you looked poised and relaxed. How did you stay relaxed coming into this game?
PHIL HUGHES: I knew what the environment would be like just from pitching in the past out of the bullpen, so that wasn't really a shocker to me. I just tried to, like I say, control my emotion. Once I got through that first hitter, first inning, I was able to just relax and treat it like any other game. I felt like that was a key for me tonight. Like you said, if we lose tonight, anything could happen. We wanted to close it out here in this game, and I'm just happy we were able to do that.

Q. Congratulations. You talk about being relaxed and how after the first pitch you feel comfortable. How much did the offense contribute to that? How much comfort, how much comfort did you get from the offense riding on those runs, how did that help?
PHIL HUGHES: That was huge. If you give up a run or two in the first couple of innings, you're back is against the wall and you're forced to rally. To get a couple of shutout innings early and then the offense doing a great job again, I mean, I think I've gotten the most run support in baseball this year. So that was the case again tonight. I was able to have a few runs to work with. That always makes my job easier when I can go out there and pitch and not worry about if it's tied or we're down one or something like that, when we have a little bit of a cushion.

Q. Is there any carry-over effect at all when you see a performance like the one that Andy Pettitte produced the other night, for you?
PHIL HUGHES: Certainly. CC pitched well in the first one. Then Pettitte. People were wondering what kind of outing he would have. Obviously he pitched great. You know you have to go out there and pull your weight. I think a lot of people coming into this series, it was like CC and then who, sort of like attitude. We know what we're capable of doing. We just kind of went out there and did what we did all year, just tried to get outs, get outs early. Especially Andy on the road, that's a tough thing to do. When you're at home you have the home crowd. It makes things easier.
That was sort of it. I did want to sort of feed off those first couple of outings and put up a good one there myself.

Q. From a pitcher's standpoint, how much does it change things when you take Justin Morneau out of the middle of that Twins' lineup?
PHIL HUGHES: It's huge. He's an MVP-type guy and another lefty. So it's certainly not the same lineup without him. But that's this game. Injuries are there. We're just glad, or I'm glad I didn't have to deal with him tonight. He usually hits me pretty well.

Q. Did you have a little extra on your fastball than maybe you haven't had on a lot of nights this year? Seemed like you were able to turn it up when you had to.
PHIL HUGHES: Yeah, having the home crowd, the adrenaline that helps that. When I had to dig deep I was able to have a couple more on my fastball, especially in those big spots. Kubel, with the 0-2 count, to be able to get a fastball by him and it's certainly nice when you can go to that and have a put-away fastball when you really need it.

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