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October 4, 2011

Ben Francisco

Cole Hamels


Phillies – 3
Cardinals - 2

Q. Ben, I know that you didn't have a ton of, I guess, playing time in the second half of the season, but in September you did get a lot of at-bats. How important was that in getting your bat ready for a situation like tonight?
BEN FRANCISCO: It was huge. I got to play a little bit in September and kind of started feeling pretty good and had a lot of confidence going into the post-season. Having all those at-bats definitely helped, and I felt good going into that at-bat.

Q. Charlie said you were a fastball hitter. Was that your mindset?
BEN FRANCISCO: Ahead in the count, yeah, I was pretty much looking for a fastball. I know the guy likes his sinker. He was looking to get something up and he left a sinker up.

Q. When the ball leaves the bat, do you know it's gone? Are you soaking in that moment? And what's going through your head as you're rounding the bases?
BEN FRANCISCO: I didn't know it was a homer. I thought it was going to be a double, then saw it bounce over the fence, and just pure excitement and pure joy. Just for the fact that we got three runs, we were kind of struggling to get some runs there. And we picked Cole up, he pitched a great game, and then the bullpen kind of held us.

Q. Ben, you struggled a little bit this year, and in the post-season I think you were 1 for 18 heading into the game. What does that say about your manager sticking with you in a big spot like that?
BEN FRANCISCO: All that matters is that we're here today, and whatever you do today is going to pretty much define you. The past is the past. Those are a long time ago, and I didn't really know that, didn't think about it. Charlie put me in there and I got a big hit.

Q. Cole, you obviously threw a lot of pitches, and you were kind of pitching in trouble throughout the game. How important was having the post-season experience you have to gut your way through tonight?
COLE HAMELS: I do think it helps, but at the same time you just have to know what you have and go out there and try to make pitches. I think that's kind of something that I've been able to stress throughout the season. It's not going to be easy. We're playing against a really tough lineup and a tough team, and they've got really good hitters, so that's just something where knowing the post-season, you don't want to make the mistakes. You don't want to leave the balls over the plate, especially up. I was just trying to make good pitches and just keep them down. And if I missed, I knew I got another opportunity, and I think that's just kind of where I was. If you're making your mistakes up in the zone, you're pretty much going to pay for it really bad. But if they're down, you give yourself probably a better opportunity to get out of the inning.

Q. Where were you when the home run was hit and what was the reaction?
COLE HAMELS: I was just getting ice on. It was huge. I think that's something where I know Benny has got it in him, especially in the count, it was just the right pitch. I think I was more just hoping for a base hit. It's nice when it goes over the fence.

Q. Following that up, Charlie said something interesting in here before. He said he liked the way your mentality was way back in the lower minors. But all the way through, at least in Philadelphia, you've had this reputation that you always seem to kind of have to fight against in terms of how gritty you actually are as a player. Does it ever bother you or do you even recognize that there are those two things?
COLE HAMELS: I guess you can only be your worst enemy, I guess. I don't know how that quote goes. But I understand how to pitch. I know how to go out and succeed. But at the same time, this game can really get after you, and you have to really dig deep and try to put things in a different perspective just for the fact because if you get out of your element, you're going to really get hurt. And I think that's kind of where I've really probably hurt myself more is I've tried to do a little too much or tried to be a little too different instead of just sticking with my guns and going out there and focusing on what I have to do.
So I think that's kind of something where I don't know if I'll necessarily learn that fast, but as long as I keep learning at the pace that I'm going, obviously things will go well.

Q. Did you walk off the mound a few times and remind yourself of that today? There were these moments where you seemed to be in conversation with yourself.
COLE HAMELS: Yeah, it's just -- it was a tight game, and I think that was kind of where -- I knew that every pitch mattered, every inning mattered. They had a great pitcher on the opposing team, so I knew that I couldn't let it get out of hand, especially with just the way we were 1-1 in the series. We're not in our home park anymore. You definitely focus and try to dig deep a little bit more, so I think that was just me kind of psyching myself up again.

Q. It seemed like you guys went change-up a lot early in the count. Was that the game plan heading in, or did you kind of make that up as you went along?
COLE HAMELS: I did get to face them a couple starts ago, so they seemed to really come out of their shoes on the very first pitch, so that was kind of where I wanted to judge to see where they were again, and it obviously helped. I kind of got a good reading on where they were right in the first part of the game. But at the same time, I have to throw strikes with my fastball because everything is faced off your fastball, so I was able to do that and then just kind of throw a few other pitches in there, and just working it. They definitely worked the count really well, especially when I got ahead of them, they definitely made me battle them. That's also why I didn't last too many innings.

Q. You seem very composed for a guy who just hit a game winning home run, coming up through Cleveland and the wild ride you kind of had this year, did you ever picture yourself sitting here answering questions about a game-winning home run in a game like this?
BEN FRANCISCO: In my role you kind of picture yourself there in a big situation as a pinch-hitter. You try and come through for your team. It was a big game, like Cole said, 0-0, so you try to score that one run because you feel like you want to win it, and I got it through, and it was pretty exciting coming around the bases and celebrating with the guys. But we have to come back and win one more game.

Q. Did it hit anybody in the bullpen and do you know who caught the ball?
BEN FRANCISCO: Tiamo caught it. He has it right now. He definitely caught it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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