On another big inning, five-run fifth
“Yeah, I’d like to keep adding on there at the end of the game, especially at this ballpark, where runs can come in a hurry. But I thought Medlen did a nice job. Gave up, what, three solo home runs? Finished strong, punching out Mayberry, and then the bullpen did a nice job retiring nine straight after that.
“Nice job all around. Chris Johnson keeps swinging a hot bat. That’s a good sign. Good to see.”
On Georgia native Ethan Martin in his debut for Phillies
“He was pretty darn good for a couple of innings. And then I think second time around the lineup we had a better look at him. But that young man is going to be successful, because he’s got four quality major league pitches that he can throw for a strike. The only thing he needs is a little maturity, a little time (in the majors). But he’s got plenty of stuff.”
“Mac’s swinging the bat. Everybody, really. Up and down the lineup, we’re getting some RBIs.”
On the offense
“You see some guys with good approaches, good at-bats. Keep the line moving.”
On Carpenter, another solid relief appearance
“Early on in the season, he was the long guy. And you start pitching better and better and start pitching in more significant innings, and you feel confident that he can pitch in those situations.”
On five consecutive games with a five-or-more-run inning
“I don’t know. It’s just one of those things. Don’t even think about it, just keep playing.”
On Medlen giving up consecutive homers, were you at all worried
“It was early in the game, second or third inning. Let him pitch. I thought that the last two hitters he faced were big, for his confidence. He really threw some good pitches to Mayberry. Those two outs there, I would think they would carry over to his next start.”
On the big innings all week
“I think it’s just a product of us grinding out at-bats, taking it one at-bat at a time, everybody trying not to make that last out, and when we do get guys on base, coming up with a big hit. Not trying to do too much.”
After doing it so many times lately, do you almost expect it?
“We have confidence in our offense that we can have a big inning any time. We’ve got a lot of good hitters in our lineup. But we were going up against a good pitching staff, so we’re just trying to grind it out. The young kid (Martin) did well against us the first two or three innings, and the second time around we were just trying to learn from our first at-bats.”
On the hitting surge he’s been on virtually entire season, but even more lately
“I try not to think about it, really. Just keep my same approach every single day, try and come in tomorrow, do my exact same routine, work on the stuff that I need to work on with Walk and Fletch before the game, and then go into the game and try to grind it out and get some hits and help the team.’
Pleased with how you were able to shrug off the two early homers?
“The entire year I haven’t been able to put together six, six just shutout innings, you know? I felt like I had the stuff tonight to do it. I can’t blame the park this time for those home runs; those were some no-doubters. I felt great. I felt like I was keeping the ball down. Get to that 3-2 count to Ruf and I threw him a 3-2 changeup and he fouled it off. I didn’t want to walk him, so I just tried to throw a fastball by him and have him put it in play, and he hit it good. Delmon Young, too. Just two pitches, for the most part. I felt like I controlled the game, and I’ve been showing signs – to myself – of really turning things around.”
On the 10-pitch at-bat that ended with Ruf home run
“He’s up there fighting, I’m up there fighting, too. As a pitcher, you don’t want to walk him, but you don’t want to give up the home run, either. Just my nature, I’m going to challenge him and try to get him to roll over something. You win some, you lose some, and he won.”
On getting through 6th, striking out Mayberry after giving up another homer, a double and RBI groundout
“I just made a couple of mistakes, hung a curveball to Delmon (Young, double) and just put myself in a bad situation again. I really fought through it with those last two guys. They snuck an extra run across because we had the infield back, but with the lead we had you have to do that. I made a good pitch to the third baseman and he rolled over one (for the RBI groundout). I threw a good two-strike changeup to Mayberry and got out of it, so it’s all good. Any time you can sneak a win against the Phillies in their home park, where they play well, we’ll take it.”
On all the run support lately, the work the offense has been doing
“I think this is what everyone kind of envisioned our offense being like. For the most part of the year, we’d get shut out for six by the starter, he’s out with 100 pitches, and the reliever comes in and we get a big inning. It just shows good focus for our offense, guys are putting together a good plan early, being patient, just kind of mixing it up. They’re just coming up with some huge innings for us. I mean, this may be the most four-, five-, six-run innings I’ve ever … It’s unbelievable for them to put that kind of fire power together. But that’s the kind of lineup we have, and right now it’s going pretty well.
“I think this is a pretty big road trip for us, seeing as how we haven’t played that well on the road, and going up against Philly – whether they’re down or not, I think still a quality team with some veteran guys – and same with the Nationals. The Nationals are no slouch. We know we’re ahead, but we know the teams under us are just as good as they were last year, if not better. They can do some things better and make a run, also.”
On avoiding a letdown late-season with big lead
“I think something we can learn from is our failure in 2011, and even last year. Just finish strong toward the end of the year.”
That collapse in 2011 a reminder not to coast or take anything for granted?
“I think you learn when you fail that hard. I just don’t think … Knock on wood, we have a different team, we have a different focus, a different mindset from that year. It’s something you learn from, and you don’t really get ahead of yourself, no matter how big your lead gets. Until you’re mathematically there, you just play the damn games and fight till the end.”