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October 2, 2011

Jim Leyland


Detroit Tigers 5
New York Yankees 3

Q. Scherzer has been young and inconsistent. Did you think it was going to be a matter of time before you saw the command of three pitches and the location like you saw it today?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, you never know what's going to happen. Big stage, and he was terrific. There was no question about it, he was terrific today against a great lineup. He powered the ball pretty good, mixed his pitches well, got some outs with change-ups. He pitched a terrific game.

Q. Jim, can you talk about Miguel's night?

Q. Yes.
JIM LEYLAND: Well, I think Robinson Cano is a star, a superstar, and I think Miguel Cabrera is, too. Since over the last two nights you saw what those guys do. They're good. In the big stage, and two big-time players two nights in a row came up big. A lot of guys came up big today. Benoit was terrific.

Q. Two things, Jim. First of all, what's going through your mind when you see Alex slip on the on-deck circle like that?
JIM LEYLAND: It wasn't my most pleasant moment, if that's what you mean. It wasn't a very good feeling. We thought we probably had the third out. All of a sudden, against anybody but particularly against a team like them with the short porch in right field, it was not a good feeling. But it worked out okay.

Q. The other thing, Max had a stretch of 11 balls in 12 pitches in the first inning. Can you talk about his maturity that he was able to regroup after that and pitch as well as he did?
JIM LEYLAND: I think he's a real thought-out guy. I think he zeroed in today. He was locked in. He was determined. Wasn't like we knocked Freddy around with their pitching. We didn't do a whole lot, but we got enough.
Like I said, Max was terrific today. Benoit was terrific. And Valverde when it's all said and done, that's pretty terrific, too, to come out of that. They charged him earlier, got the quick home run. Under those conditions, probably tough to get a grip on the ball. You get one of the best hitters in baseball up there. That's not easy to do. That could have been disaster for us.
Fortunately, he made a great pitch when he had to, we got the groundball.

Q. Jim, you touched on Benoit a little bit against the grain, your decision, can you talk about that and how he gutted it out.
JIM LEYLAND: You know, you always have to be careful what you say because everybody holds you to everything you say. This is playoff time, I didn't want to use him in the seventh inning. I felt I had no choice. I felt like if we were going to be in a position where we had a shot to win this game, we definitely had to win it. And I just felt like it was necessary for me to go to him in the seventh and he was terrific.
But it's playoff time. You do some things at playoff time that you don't do over 162-game schedule. Playoff time, we certainly didn't want to get down 0-2.
So you do what you have to do. Sometimes you don't like to do it, but I felt that -- really, basically, what you do as a manager, you try to do anything that gives your team the best chance to win. You feel it gives you the best shot.

Q. Jim, how reminiscent is it to you of '06, the rain-out, you guys coming back and taking Game 2 before you go home. You have three games in a row back to back? You had the same records as you did in '06.
JIM LEYLAND: Well, it feels good to get a win. I don't worry about the -- like the rain or stuff like that. I think we've done a good job of handling that. I think you have to have a mindset to do that. If you're going to get concerned about the rain and the families getting home and when are we leaving, are we staying, what happened if after seven innings this game is rained out, if you get caught up in all that stuff, you probably don't have your focus on what you should have it on. I think our club has done a really terrific job of dealing with everything that's come our way. Particularly here.
This is an unbelievable atmosphere, as you know. Unbelievable history. It's not easy to do what we did. And I think the guys zeroed in pretty good. I'm awful proud of them.

Q. And you were able to do the same thing in '06.
JIM LEYLAND: It was a little different situation. '06 is '06 and 2011 is 2011. The lineup is so deep, as it was then. They just send one right after another up there. With that short porch and a lot of lefties, it's pretty scary at times, to be honest with you. We did okay. If you make pitches, you have a chance.

Q. For those of us who don't know Cabrera very well, what's he like in the dugout and the clubhouse? He seems to be pretty chatty around first base.
JIM LEYLAND: He has a lot of energy. What comes out of Cabrera, if you watch him, is how much he loves to play the game. He's like a big kid, or a little kid, however you want to look at it. He just loves to play the game. He's the most instinctive player I have. He's smart. When I mess up, he knows it. Not all of them do, but he does.
He's got a pretty good feel for what's going on.

Q. Do you have an example of that?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, he knows when he's supposed to be on the line and when he's not. He knows if they drag a bunt if I want him to go to second with the ball instead of flipping it back to the pitcher. He's smart. He has terrific instincts and he's got a great face.

Q. Just out of curiosity, given how Cano has been hitting, had you entertained the thought of all of walking him to pitch to A-Rod in the ninth?
JIM LEYLAND: Could you repeat that?

Q. Given how well Cano has been hitting, had you entertained the thought of walking him to pitch to A-Rod in the ninth?
JIM LEYLAND: That's a great question. It is. That's a great question. You know what, I thought about it. But that other guy has been known for the dramatics, and I figured it's wet, it's slippery, one gets away, one run is in, something like that would happen, a groundball, a ball slips, I just couldn't do it. Hit a ball in the infield, you get him over there and somebody throws it away, the game is tied.
It did cross my mind. Good question.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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