Quotes from Jason Heyward, Julio Teheran and manager Fredi Gonzalez following the Braves' victory Monday in New York.
Greatest catch you’ve made, or at least the most important catch?
“Yeah, I’d say so. It’s pretty important, obviously, to (help) win the game. In situations like that you want the ball to be hit to you, no matter where it is, and you want to be in that spot right there to make a play to win the game.”
On how his hamstring held up (first game back in lineup after 11 days)
“It was tough as the game went on. It went quick, but in center tonight I didn’t have to move around a whole lot tonight, not like I do in right field backing bases up and throws or whatnot. I was a little worried about trying to stay loose and keep it warm. But as the game went on, I was able to stay loose. And right there, adrenaline took care of itself.”
As you broke for the ball and ran over, at what point did you think you would catch it?
“I knew I had to dive. For me, I knew I had to dive, (when it came) off the bat, because I didn’t think it was in my reach. As I got closer I thought, obviously you’re going to try to make the play here with two outs, the game on the line. If you don’t catch it, so be it. But fortunately, I was able to get a good enough jump.”
Did you think of playing it more conservatively, on the bounce, to maybe allow one run to score but not two?
“No, not when I feel like I should make a lot of plays. I want to make every play I can. Right there, that was catchable. If I try and play it on the hop, then it probably gets by me.”
On Teheran’s performance
“Outstanding. Their starter was amazing as well, obviously. Taking a no-hitter through the sixth inning. But Julio keeping us right there, only allowing one run, he threw well tonight. We were able to play D for him, and we finally caught so breaks.”
On making a game-ending catch
“It was fun. It was just fun. I know (teammates) appreciated it. They know I take a lot of pride in my work out there in the outfield, and I always want to come up big in any spot, whether it be offensively or defensively. But right there, there’s no better way to do it.”
On where he was positioned when right-handed-hitting Turner was up
“Turner is actually a guy that you try to play to the off-gap somewhat (opposite field), especially with Craig on the mound. And he caught one out front (and pulled it to left). I was kind of anticipating. You always want to anticipate a bad throw, things like that. And I was anticipating him to hit the ball that way.”
Is that the equal of hitting a walkoff homer?
“It’s fair to say it’s equal. I mean, more people will probably remember the guy that got a hit to win a game than the guy who made a catch. But at times, they’re highlighted. Unless it’s a World Series winner or playoff clincher, then nobody’s going to remember the catch. But most people will remember a walkoff hit for a long time.”
On Heyward’s game-ending catch
“He made a hell of a play to save the game. It was a hell of a play, regardless. But to end the game that way … it was very, very nice.”
Did you think when the ball was headed to the gap that he had a chance to catch it?
“No. But I saw when he left his feet – if he doesn’t leave his feet he isn’t going to catch that ball – but the son of a gun is (6-5), and he’s not afraid to do that. We’ve seen him do that in right field, leave his feet. Wow. What a catch.”
On the top of the ninth
“What great at-bats we had there in the ninth inning there against Parnell. Chris Johnson. We get a wild pitch and the guy (to third), and Chris Johnson makes contact, productive out, gets the runner in. And then Reed Johnson had a hell of an at-bat there against Parnell to score the winning run.”
On Reed Johnson coming through after getting couple of hits including a homer robbed Sunday
“They took about four RBIs off him yesterday. And today he gets an opportunity to redeem himself. He puts up great at-bats, no matter if it’s against right-handers or left-handers. Today was a tough at-bat against Parnell.”
On Teheran’s performance
“You guys are going to be writing about the top of the ninth and bottom of the ninth, and Teheran pitched six innings of some kind of baseball. Gave up one run. And that goes by the wayside. But he gave us a great opportunity. He pitched really good. It’s nice to see the young man develop into a major league starter.”
On whether this is type of game that first-place teams win
“Well, Gee pitched a pretty good ballgame against us. We had him on the ropes there with Terdoslavich, and he made some great pitches. But those are the type of games that you hang around and you hang around, and we’ve got a pretty good offense. You’ve got to tip your hat to Gee for holding us (hitless through six). And we capitalized there in the ninth inning.”
“We’ve got a never-give-up type team, and we battled all the way to the end.”
On pulling out win after losing series at Chicago
“We got on the plane yesterday and felt like we won two out of three against the White Sox. And we didn’t. We lost two out of three. And today we had a chance. We were in position to lose three in a row, and we came back and won the game. Now we’ve got to keep winning and try to win series.”
On his performance
“I felt like I did a good job and just tried to compete. The other pitcher was pitching good, too. I was trying to keep the game close.”
On Heyward’s catch
“I jumped when I saw the catch. I was here (in the clubhouse). I was yelling.”
On the ninth inning
“That was great. Reed coming up with a huge hit. I mean, he’s starting to get some consistent ABs, and you’re seeing – when you give bench guys consistent ABs, he gets more results that way. I think starting (two games) in Chicago really helped him out. He got a big hit for us.”
On Heyward’s catch, what were you thinking when that ball’s hit to left-center?
“I mean, he’s playing right-center, and ran about 60 yards to make the catch. There’s not many guys that can make that play. When he gets going full-tilt, he can fly.”
“He kept them off-balance. Really worked in all his pitches. I think his curveball was the pitch that made him go six or seven innings tonight, or whatever he did. He could have gone nine tonight if the situation had dictacted.
“His location was great tonight. He kept them off-balance, stayed aggressive. He’s been doing that for a quite a while.”
On staying positive in the dugout, even after no hits through six and another failed bases-loaded situation in seventh
“We get paid to show up and play hard to the last out. That’s what this team does. I felt like (Sunday) we hit the ball great, but it just didn’t fall our way. That’s the game of baseball. You can do everything right and still fail.”
On baseball gods smiling on him, a day after he had two hits and about four RBIs robbed
“Yeah, it usually doesn’t work out that way. But fortunately it did.”
On coming through after team squandered bases-loaded opp today and two of them Sunday
“We were in a really good position to win that (Sunday) game a couple of times, and we didn’t really have anything go our way. And today we did. We hit a ball through the shift, and hit another ball (for hit in outfield) when they were in no-doubles (defense, playing deep). So things just were kind of working our way today.”
Being an outfielder, what did you think of Heyward’s catch?
“That was unbelievable. Especially at a position he’s not used to. To be able to do that in that position, you know, we’re shaded over into right-center. Kimbrel’s your typical closer where you kind of shade a lot of hitters to the opposite field. (Heyward) is in the opposite gap and ran all the way to the other gap and then ended up catching the ball. I think it was the highest I’ve jumped in six or seven years. I said I was going to cry either way, whether he caught it or not. Happy tears is a good thing.”
On his own big hit
“It feels great. Especially coming off the bench, to be able to help impact the game like that, it definitely means a lot. It’s tough in that situation, against a closer, and then it becomes even tougher when you’re in a pinch-hit situation. So it really feels pretty good.”