On his approach first at-bat
“Try to stay calm, I’ve been seeing the ball well the last couple days, just trying to stay calm and make good contact.”
On if though Avilan was coming to him on DP
“No, I was hoping he’d go home. I know Crawford is running and I saw him like catch it a little weird. So I was like oh, he’s going to make a bad throw if he turns, so just make the out at home and he turned and I was like ‘Oh ok. Let’s do this.’ He made a good throw and we turned the double play.”
On how he played it, for a reliever
“It was good, especially in the playoffs, make a big play like that, make a big pitch and a big play after that is really good.”
On which tag he got Gordon with, one of his foot or one that carried past
“Both. I got him both times. I got him with the first leg, with a small tag, and the follow through got him on the second leg….I kind of put my knee a little bit under and I know he hit it, so it might have slowed him down a little bit too.”
On jumping up and showing ump the ball
“I’ve got to show them so they believe it I guess. Nah, I was excited so I wanted him to make the call right away.”
On Kimbrel hitting 101
“Awesome. The fans were really into the game so when he heard them, he was zoned in. He came in, he gave it all he had and did amazing.”
On the mental part of turning the double play:
“I was talking with McCann as soon as I saw the ground ball. He hit it very well and I knew Carl Crawford was a good runner. He hit it kind of hard, so as soon as I saw the ground ball my first thought was going to second base to try the double play.”
On if heard McCann call
“Yeah he called ‘4, 4, 4’ (for home plate) but I knew that we had Simmons at shortstop with a good arm, so that was my first thought.”
On making the aggressive play
“Yeah, I mean I saw the runner at third base go toward home plate on the first contact but I still thought I had a good opportunity with the double play.”
Ever imagined first big play in the postseason would be with glove?
“Oh no. I never thought that before. That was the coolest moment of my life. That definitely beat my MLB debut.”
On if had time to make decision, or pure instinct
“I think that’s pure instinct.”
Before the two-run homer off Carpenter, any indication might be a four-out save night for you?
“Yeah, there definitely was, called down for me to prepare and to stretch, start throwing when Carp went out, and it just so happened that happened, and I came in.”
You had a four-out save a few weeks ago, how different in postseason?
“It was a big difference. It’s a regular season day game, and it’s a postseason night game here, packed house. But it’s still baseball. My job is to go out there and get as many outs as I’m supposed to get to finish the game, and I was able to do it tonight.”
How different were the emotions?
“Oh, it’s obviously big. It’s one of those things you always try to tell yourself to calm down. It’s a little bit easier said than done. I was able to make it through it tonight.”
Did the crowd, the situation, add a couple of miles per hour to your fastball?
“I guess it did. The scoreboard said so. But no, I was just trying not to throw it where I could get hurt. I left some balls up where I didn’t want to do that. I got ahead of Ellis and Ethier, and I felt like I was in pretty good position, but I think I tried to do too much. It was just one of those things. That might have got me a little bit. But Gerald throwing Dee out, that made the inning completely different.”
What does this do for momentum?
“It’s huge. Nobody wanted to go out to LA down two games. Tonight was huge in our minds. We knew we were going to have a tough game ahead of us, our guys showed up, played hard, and we got some big hits tonight. That’s what it came down to. We’re going out to LA, and hopefully we can keep that momentum going.”
Your thoughts on intentional walk of Reed Johnson in from of you?
“Play the matchups. That’s what the postseason is about. You go lefty-lefty there. Me personally, I’m glad to have an opportunity to come through big for my team right there, got a pitch and I didn’t miss it.
Where does this rank among all the top moments that you’ve experienced early in your career?
“I mean, the top. For right now the top. This is this moment. This is all I can control. Anything that already happened and whatever is going to happen next, I have no control over. So tonight’s game was a lot of fun. We want to be in those situations to come through big for your team. And I was trying to continue to grow up some in this game and continue to get better and continue to be a student of the game and continue to have fun.”
A broken jaw is a pretty serious injury. How concerned were you that you weren’t going to make it back for the playoffs and how hard did you work? Was it difficult?
“Well, the first frustrating thing was watching my team play in the biggest part of the season without me, and wanted to be a part of those games, and that was also the second time I had had to be on the DL this year going to the hospital. I worked really hard to be in shape before my jaw actually healed so I could play, and that is what it is right now.
“It’s not really a concern for me. I know if I was going to step back on the field to help my teammates, I couldn’t think about my jaw or anything like that. Get out there and go have some fun.”
Fredi said you guys thought this was probably a must win game. Did you feel that way?
“Yeah, I know a manager has got a different mindset sometimes than the players, but I know we all agree on one thing tonight, every night in the postseason is a must win game for us. You don’t want to ever think it’s okay to lose. That’s been our attitude all year. I feel like anybody that’s in the postseason, any team says we need to win tonight. And we came up big.”
On team’s resiliency
“That’s what it takes to win 96 games I feel like in a very tough division with some very respected teams. To play as well as we did at home after being down so many times, that says a lot about what it takes to win postseason games for me. We showed up in the regular season and did it, but it’s good to do it in the postseason.
On the crowd
“Man, I’ve watched this crowd growing up, and to be out there and be a part of it is a special thing for me personally. I know we definitely feed off of them, and no atmosphere is like Turner Field to me when it’s a packed house.”
Another indication of team’s resilience?
“Yeah I think we almost used all 25 guys on our roster. I think that was an overall good team win. That’s our team this year. When we get down, we come back, and JHey with a huge hit right there. I don’t think he’s ever had a bigger one in his life, than that one. It’s pretty good.”
On Avilan’s double play:
“That’s just incredible. It was a great play by him and a great throw and a great turn by Andrelton. Luckily I caught the ball. It kind of rattled around and I was like that could be a ‘Not top 10’ (on ESPN) right there.”
On McCann yelling “4” (as in throw home):
“I started to yell 4. I think everybody thought 4. Let alone turn a double play, turn a double play on Carl Crawford is tough, but he made a great throw and Andrelton made a great turn. It looked like the ball didn’t even touch Andrelton’s glove. He’s unbelievable.”
On Heyward saying the jaw wasn’t going to be a problem, continues to prove it
“That’s it right there. You always want to do something big when someone gets intentionally walked (in front of you), based loaded and two outs, I don’t think any bigger situation him coming through against a lefty and a lefty hit him (Jonathan Niese fastball to broke jaw) so I think that’s big, that’s big for his confidence and we’re facing a lefty on Sunday so hopefully he can carry that over.”
On counting on Heyward despite lefty vs. lefty:
“Jason has all the confidence in the world, and that’s one guy we wanted up there….Jason came through. You knew when he took those first two sliders, I was like ‘Ph man, I think we’re going to be OK here.’ And he just came right through. It was a beautiful hit.”
On making that throw at critical time
“Oh yeah it was a fun play. It was just nice to get a chance to get in there and contribute. I was on the bench, next thing you know I was in the game. It’s crunch time. I was just glad I was able to get it off and make a good throw and Simba did the rest, made the tag. I’m just glad the call went our way.”
On if he had a little smoke on his glove from what Kimbrel was doing
“He was pretty special tonight. When he’s on it makes my job easy. I’m just glad he’s on our side. We don’t have to face that because tonight he was electric. He had that 100 mph fastball going, and that curveball. You could tell he was a little bit amped, but once he settles down and gets it in the zone, he’s as tough as they come.”
On Roger McDowell’s visit with Kimbrel before Crawford
“To give him a breather. We just threw a guy out and we walked a guy so just kind of take a breather. He was a little amped up, then he settled down and made four pretty good pitches.”
On if trying to shorten his swing, two outs, two strikes
“Yeah, I’m always thinking that though. My swing is try to stay short, try to stay in the middle of the field, and especially in that situation. And he got me into two strikes which makes it even more crucial to stay short and try not to swing out of the zone.”
Biggest hit of your life?
“Yeah probably. I haven’t had any games that are more important than this one, so yeah I guess so.”
On what that moment was like
“It was really cool, just running down the bases and hearing the crowd go nuts was something I’ll never forget.”
The pitches that you struck out González and Uribe, a fastball and a knuckle curve?
“Yeah, I don’t know if it’s a knuckle curve, but I guess it’s the way I grip. Yeah, sinker to Adrian and then a curveball to Uribe.”
On handling nerves
“I felt like I was a lot more composed than I was when I was thinking about it all day. I had a lot of anxiety. But when I went out there warming up it felt about the same. We had a big crowd and it was just a buzz when you get out there. It’s a lot easier for me to pitch with background noise than smaller crowds when you can hear some guy in the background yelling at you.”
On team’s resilience
“It was down from last night. We wanted to win the first game. But I don’t think anybody came into this game thinking we were going to lose again. We all felt good today. We were relaxed and have a good vibe in the clubhouse prior to the game. Now we are feeling real good after this win.”
On all the two out hits tonight
“Well, we had a couple of them, the big ones. And we had some good at bats. We really had some good at bats. I think we were able to tag on runs, or add on runs later in the game, was big.
“I thought defensively today we played we turned three double plays. The last one with Avilan, first and third, PFP, you see a lot of that play end up in center field. But he made a nice toss to Simmons, and Simmons turned it pretty good.
“We played good defense. Mike was outstanding, gave us a great opportunity to win the game. And it was nice to shake hands, especially at home after the game last night. Come out and play a really, really good baseball game, and hopefully carry a little momentum going into LA.
Mike gave up that RBI double in the first inning and then he seemed to settle down
“Usually when he settles down like that he’s going to give you a good opportunity, he really is, and that’s something that he’s getting better. He’s maturing as a pitcher. I thought he was terrific, I really did.”
Was that pretty much a must win for you guys?
“Oh, there’s no question. You don’t want to go into the next into L.A. down two games. But now our goal over there is to win one, maybe split the two games there and come back home. But you’re facing Greinke after facing Kershaw last night, and it was a big win, and the guys stepped up and they played tremendous defense and got some add on runs, and we really, really pitched well.”