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October 3, 2011

Jim Leyland


New York Yankees 4
Detroit Tigers 5

Q. Jim, can you talk about the night Justin Verlander gave you.
JIM LEYLAND: He was terrific. I think he got -- there was a couple of different times during the game he got overamped. I think the inning where he ended up walking Posada and hit Martin, he got overamped. I think he was probably trying to go for a strikeout, he got overamped a little bit, but he was terrific.
That's just -- I don't think people really realize -- maybe they do, I guess, we do -- I don't think they realize how deep that lineup is. There's no breathers in that lineup. I was a little worried, because he kind of had to amp up a little early. He got in trouble early and had to amp up. I was concerned about that but he got through it. Ended up the pitch count wasn't too bad.
But he was terrific. There's just no breathers in there. Most of them are all a threat to hit the ball out of the ballpark. That's a tough chore.

Q. Jim, can you talk about Inge's and Santiago's night. In particular Inge's double in the third which seemed to get you going.
JIM LEYLAND: That got us going. Ingie came up with a big hit there. That really did get us going a bit. Santiago had a great night, of course. We were thrilled about that. He had done decent against CC, obviously hitting .294 against him. That's why we put him in there tonight. He responded very well. A couple of big hits no question about it. Ingie really got us going. It was good to see. Of course the big blow by Delmon.

Q. Given Justin's competitiveness, did he have a chance to lobby to come back out or did you just nip it in the bud --
JIM LEYLAND: No, we didn't even talk about it. That was going to be it. He had to exert much effort during the course of the entire game, not just that last inning. Like I said, he had to amp up pretty early. I don't like that. But no, there was no chance he was going to come back out. He didn't say much. I think he felt that he had probably done his job for the night. That was enough.
Obviously, Valverde threw some pitches yesterday. We did everything we could to not come home 0-1. We felt like we had to win that game yesterday. Maybe I wished things would have worked out little differently and we didn't have to use him tonight. But, you know, it's the playoffs.

Q. A couple of quickies: Delmon, here's a guy who you traded for at mid-season, it always is a guy who is unsung comes in and has a great contribution to a team in the playoffs. He's done it in this series.
JIM LEYLAND: No. 1, that's Dave Dombrowski's credit, not mine. He claimed him and we ended up being able to trade for him. You have to give Dave credit.
Delmon was one of the guys that was huge down the stretch for Minnesota last year. We knew that. At pressure time last year he did well for the Twins. One of the big RBI guys down the stretch. We thought it would be a nice addition. Dave was fortunate enough to get him for us.

Q. Just revisiting Verlander, at 120 pitches, is he through for the series?
JIM LEYLAND: I would say so, yes. I wouldn't do anything foolish. I try not to do anything foolish with any of my pitchers, let alone an arm like that. You saw what a talent that is. I would say he's definitely done for this series.

Q. Talk about the patience your guys had with CC with his control a little off.
JIM LEYLAND: Well, he obviously had some trouble throwing the ball over the plate a little bit tonight. He's a fantastic pitcher. He's been one of the best, if not the best, for the last four or five years. We were fortunate. He probably wasn't at his best, to be honest with you. Command-wise he certainly wasn't. He competes so hard and you're not going to get a whole lot. So we were pretty fortunate.

Q. Valverde has been good, 49-for-49, but you've seen he can sort of be a top-step-of-the-dugout guy, gets guys on. What's it like to manage a closer like that who always seems to get out of it, but always has to get into it first?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, it's not always true. He's had some relatively easy games closing games out. You're right. He does get into problems. We know they're going to run on him in certain situations. You can't do much better than what he's done up to this point. So we feel real comfortable with him.
He's one of the most popular players on the team. He's really a wonderful, wonderful guy. He's a great teammate. And when we got him, we talked to some of the guys in Houston. They raved what a teammate he was. That's proved out to be very true.

Q. Jim, Peralta has had some trouble with CC in the past. Can you talk about the contribution from him tonight.
JIM LEYLAND: Yeah, it was funny, because I think I was telling some of you guys before the game, we had a couple of combinations going. Raburn was .177, Jhonny was .059. Santiago was the one guy who had some success. So we had combination of either Raburn and Santiago or Peralta and Raburn. We had it all mixed up and we decided to go with the defense, because we had one guy that hit him pretty good, and that was also our best defense. That's the way we decided to go. Jhonny got a huge, huge hit.

Q. Jim, to Jeter there was a close pitch that wasn't called a strike. Can you talk about the tension in the dugout after that?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, I mean, you're just pulling so hard. And when you see one from the dugout. We don't get the same vantage point of the umpire. It's natural to react when you see one that looks real close. I haven't really seen the pitch. One of my guys said it was a ball. Somebody else said it was a strike. We don't have the same vantage point. I thought Gerry Davis had a consistent strike zone the entire evening for both sides.
So it's just that you want it so much, it's not very comfortable with a guy that's got over 3,000 or so hits up there in that situation. You figure there's one real close, you hope you might get it. Like I said, I thought Gerry Davis was consistent for both teams the entire evening.

Q. Jim, pretty obvious question: How do you feel about where you stand in the series right now?
JIM LEYLAND: We got two and they got one. That's all it means. Certainly that team is capable of rattling off a bunch in a row, obviously two or more, without question. It's a great team. We put ourselves certainly in a decent position. But that's all we've done. This is a five-game series. I've said all along the key number here is three. And we only got two and they got one. That's all that means.
This is a terrific team. Believe me, it's a terrific team we're playing and we think we're a very good team. We think it's certainly a good series, and it's going to continue to be a good series, and they're not going to go away. Trust me, they're not going to go away. We've put ourselves in a decent position, but we still got more to accomplish. So this is a long way from being over.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Jim.

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