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October 13, 2011

Ryan Braun

Randy Wolf



Q. Randy, we couldn't tell who was most incredulous on the Holliday home run, you or him; can you talk about what a weird thing that was?
RANDY WOLF: Yeah, off the bat, I first thought it was a foul ball, and then when I saw the ball staying fair, I thought it was going to be a fly-out. But you know, he's one of those guys that has brute strength. He's just a big, strong guy, and you know, I think all three of us, me, George (Kotarras) and Matt (Holliday), we were all kind of surprised that went out. But he's a strong enough guy. It's like trying to pitch to Brian Urlacher. He's a beast. (Laughter.)

Q. Sixth inning, you guys have a couple of guys on, bottom of the order coming up. First of all, were you expecting maybe to be pinch-hit for, and secondly, what did it do for you to maybe be allowed to go a little further near this game?
RANDY WOLF: I'll be 100% honest with you, I don't even remember that situation.
All I thought about was going back out there and pitching, and I was going to go out there until Ron took the ball away from me. Honestly, I remember having three at-bats. I remember bunting once, and that was my last time up against Arthur Rhodes.
You know, I think that gave it second and third, and two outs with Nyjer up.

Q. This has been a bullpen series for the most part. How does it feel for you to kind of have that big first start for a starter?
RANDY WOLF: It was a big feeling just to be back out there again after my last start, the Diamondbacks tied the series 2-2, went back to our place, and we had the most stressful game I've ever watched in my life, and I felt that my off-season sanity was riding on that game.
Just to be able to get another opportunity to pitch again was important. You know, I'll be honest with you, the day after the Diamondbacks start, I didn't eat or shower that day. I don't know if they call that depression, but it was tough to swallow. (Laughter.) So I was just really happy that we came through, Yo came through in that Game 5 and I was assured another opportunity to be back on the mound.

Q. You said you didn't want to put too much emphasis on first innings, even though we have talked in the past about some of the struggles you've had, but when you have a one-two-three inning like that, can you take something from it going forward?
RANDY WOLF: Well, you can take the fact that they didn't score any runs, and that's big. I think the most important thing regardless of whether it was a one-two-three inning or whether they scored a run in the first inning, the main thing I wanted do is throw strikes. That was my biggest problem in my last game. I threw 50 percent strikes. It's impossible to be successful when you're throwing 50 percent strikes. So the main thing I wanted to do was get ahead and throw strikes and move the ball in and out and use all my pitches. In the first inning I felt confident to where I knew I was going to be able to throw those pitches for strikes all game, and it's a plus and it's icing on the cake to have a one-two-three first.

Q. As opposed to being depressed, you get to be exhilarated, elated? What is it?
RANDY WOLF: Does that officially declare me bipolar? (Laughter.)
Regardless of how the game went, I was satisfied with the fact that I was going to have that opportunity. You know, you don't want to have just one opportunity and have it to be like it was. Going into it I knew it was going to be either the Phillies or Cardinals, both very tough teams, but either one, I just really wanted to have had a chance.
Regardless of what that result was, I just wanted to be back out there and have some kind of -- it's kind of a weird word, but it's redemption to go back out there.

Q. A mini series of questions about your runs scored. Were you surprised they hooked Lohse so quick and then do you think their plan with Boggs was to try to overpower you because he throws it so hard? And just the at-bat you had, you fouled off some tough pitches and got one you could handle.
RYAN BRAUN: No, I was not surprised that they took him out of the game at that point. That's kind of what they've been doing the whole series. Their bullpen has been phenomenal.
I think Boggs is the type of guy who has overpowering stuff so it's an opportunity to get either a strikeout or pop-up, which is what you're looking for in that situation. I just tried to shorten my swing up and make sure I was able to put the ball in play.
I actually made it hard on myself that both infielders, the middle infielders were back the first couple of pitches. Once I got the two strikes, they did fake me out by bringing the infielder in, late trick. Second baseman came in, shortstop was back and I was able to pull the ball and make sure I got it to the left side to assure us of at least scoring the run.

Q. The larger implication of this is that the series will be settled at Miller Park. Wondering how that feels for both of you guys?
RYAN BRAUN: Feels great. Obviously the goal was to make sure we get an opportunity to go back and play Game 6. If we didn't get to do it, that would have meant our season was over. Obviously it's well documented we have played well at home. These guys have played us tough at home, too, but it's definitely a great feeling that we are going to have an opportunity to at least get to Game 6 back at home.
RANDY WOLF: I agree with Ryan.

Q. Obviously 3-1 is not a foregone conclusion in a seven-game series, but how big of a difference is it between 3-2 and 2-2?
RANDY WOLF: It's a huge difference. You have to win three games in a row to win the series, and that in itself statistically and mathematically makes it tough. Historically when you look at teams like the Cardinals who get into the playoffs as a wild-card who is on fire, they are always going to be a tough team to play. They beat what everybody thought was the best team in baseball going into the NLDS. They played them very tough.
So we knew that going into this series, we were going to have our work cut out for us; and today, to even the series, as opposed to being 3-1, it's a good thing for us. It's a very good thing for us.

Q. Game 2 at home, you still had a bad game, and as Ron said, just wasn't played well; but does that game do anything to shake your confidence playing there or are you the same as all year?
RYAN BRAUN: No, we'll never lack confidence. I think we'll feel really good about ourselves regardless of where we are playing or who we are playing against. Obviously we've played really well at home. We've had a lot of success there, and one loss is not going to deter us from feeling the same way and feeling good heading into Game 6 back at home. But these guys are tough. They are not going to be intimidated by coming to Miller Park by any means either. Regardless of where we're playing, we know it's not going to be easy. But certainly we like our chances getting the opportunity to go back home.

Q. Can you talk about the fact that the offense finally got the timely hitting that had been lacking the last few games and was able to produce those runs?
RYAN BRAUN: I think the key to success against a team who is playing as well as these guys are is taking advantage of the opportunities you get with runners on base.
We were able to do that tonight. I think they deserve a ton of credit. The last couple of games were really making big pitches in big situations. Their bullpen has been phenomenal all series and tonight we are were able to get a couple of key hits in key situations, and that's obviously extremely important in finding a way to beat these guys.

Q. Randy, remarkably, it took until Game 4 for a starting pitcher to make it past the sixth inning, considering how many great starting pitchers there are in this series. Can you just speak to the toughness of the two offenses and how hard they can make it on pitchers in this series?
RANDY WOLF: It's two really tough teams. There's no way I could put it into words of just the intensity that's there every inning. You know how important every out is. You know how either team, if they have an opportunity to score, how good they are at taking advantage of that opportunity.
So the main thing you want to do is stay out of trouble, but you know, fortunately today, we had some big hits, got that two-run lead, which I think just afforded me to be able to go a little bit longer and a little deeper in the game. If it's 2-2,3-2, I may not be out there in the sixth or seventh inning. They might hit for me when I bunted. There's a lot of things that kind of factor into it, so I think to get those two runs after the tie game, those were huge runs.

Q. Were you confident if you kept it there that your teammates would rally and get that game?
RANDY WOLF: Yeah, I said earlier that even though it is the playoffs, we are the same team, and the one thing that has held true this year is that as a starting pitcher, you give the offense a chance to score runs, whether it's three, four or 12. As long as you get their runs to a minimum it gives us a chance.
We have a good offense that's balanced, that takes advantage of opportunities, and I felt that I was throwing the ball well. I felt those two home runs were actually good pitches that they -- Allen Craig did a great job of hitting and Holliday forearmed the ball out of there. I thought I was throwing strikes and I felt I was confident to where I could keep them at that score.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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