Quotes from Brandon Beachy, Andrelton Simmons, Scott Downs, Joey Terdoslavich and manager Fredi Gonzalez following the Braves' 9-8 victory over the Rockies Monday at Turner Field.
Make it any easier to accept since it was your first MLB start after Tommy John surgery?
“No, it still stings. I’m not going to just chalk this up to part of the process. No, I’m not going to do that. I pitched poorly, really let the guys down after they came back and got me that lead. It’s not acceptable, no matter what the circumstances are.”
Was location the biggest problem?
“You know what, I thought I commanded my fastball pretty well. I got in trouble with hanging some breaking balls. It seemed like every one I hung, they crushed it. They didn’t miss those mistakes.”
What positives can you take from it?
“I feel good physically, I just need to refine — refine the off-speed, especially. I felt like I was ahead in a lot of counts and I was this close to getting out of some situations, and they were fouling pitches off. And when I made a mistake, they capitalized.”
Might some first-start jitters or adrenaline have played into it?
“I really don’t think so. I went out there from the get-go and was throwing strikes, and if any of that would have been a factor, that’s where it would have shown up. I would have been a little all over to start. But I wasn’t. I was right there. It’s just a matter of executing when I was ahead.”
Does being ahead of so many guys, even 0-2 on several guys who got hits, tell you you’re close?
“Yeah, I feel like I’m right there. I’m confident going into my next one. I’m not looking to do this again. It’s just something I’ll work on in my bullpen, get some of those breaking balls a little sharper, down in the zone when it matters.”
On his walk-off triple
“I feel like I’ve been lacking driving runs in, I’ve had a lot of opportunities. I’m happy I’ve been getting it done lately.”
Were you surprised by how quick Uggla got around the bases?
“I don’t know, but he didn’t look quick enough for me (smiles). When I hit it I was like, go Dan, don’t even think about stopping. No, but (seriously), he looked fast.”
On coming through in big moments, the big stage, situation like extra innings or the World Baseball Classic
“Yeah, I like the big moments. Everybody likes the big moments. I feel like I had opportunities before in the season. I’m definitely making the most of them lately, and hoping to continue that.”
On going up in 10th to hit, not bunt the runner over
“I’ve been seeing the ball well lately, so I felt comfortable swinging.”
On erasing 5-0 early deficit
“We’re a team that knows we’re capable of scoring a lot of runs. I mean, the first couple of innings, you just hoped the pitcher keeps us in the game, still gives us a chance. Six runs is a lot of runs. Still, for us, we know we can turn it around in one or two innings.”
On the comeback and being a part of it, especially the six-run third
“It was pretty sweet. It was awesome. We knew there was a lot of game left. We scored six in the bottom of the third, so we had (six) innings left. Just tried to have good at-bats. I wanted to go up there, after a long inning (in the Rockies’ third), I wanted to see some pitches and give Beachy a little bit of a rest, because I knew he was hitting (after Terdo in the bottom of third). I led off the inning with a double, he got the bunt down, J-Hey got the big hit, and we started rolling.”
“Then I came up in my next at-bat (in the fifth), we already had a run in, and Dan was on third after Simmons got him over. I knew the pitcher was on-deck and I thought they were going to let Carp (David Carpenter) hit, so I just wanted to have a good at-bat and put something in play, try to get something up in the zone. He threw me a little two-seamer away and I just tried to stay on it, not try to do too much, and got the run in (with a single for an 8-7 lead in the fifth).”
“Then Simmons came up with a huge hit there at the end. Dan had an awesome at-bat, to work it 3-2 and foul off a couple of pitches. Simmons hit one in the gap. Pretty sweet.”
On Simmons’ coming through with more than his share of hits like that
“Yeah, he’s clutch. He’s the man. He can swing it. I was happy to have him up there in that situation. The guy’s throwing a bunch of heaters, and Simmons can turn around 100 (mph fastballs), and I knew if he had a chance to get a heater there, the guy was in trouble. And he made him pay.”
On when he got to the bullpen after arriving so late following the trade
“About normal, about the normal time I usually (go the ‘pen) – about the fifth. Did some stuff. I went and took a shower, trying to relax, calm down.”
On how cool it would have been to get the win after throwing one pitch
“No, it was just as cool throwing however many pitches I threw. It was a good win. It was fun to see.”
On shaking hands, and slapping five with guys you’ve never met before
“Yeah. That’s the fun part about this game. One day you’re somewhere else with a good group of guys, the next day you’re in another place with a good group of guys. I got to meet a couple of my teammates out on the mound, during the ninth inning, tried to keep it loose and say hey, what’s up, let’s play some ball.”
Uggla say something out there to make you laugh?
“We were both joking. I think everybody was joking because I just kind of walked in, I was like ‘Hey guys, nice to meet you.’ Just to kind of break the ice a little bit.”
On couldn’t help but chuckle with first pitch back to the mound
“You have to chuckle because couldn’t have written that up any better. It was getting out of a key situation and keeping our team in the game. That’s the name of the game to keep your team in as long as you can and hope for a hit that we got. Come out tomorrow and hopefully do the same thing.”
Faced Helton before?
“I’ve faced him a few times. This goes all the way back to college. We’ve come up together, playing against each other (Helton at Tennessee, Downs at Kentucky). I haven’t played against him in a while, since being in the American League. I knew he was going to be swinging. I just happened to…with a hitter like that you can’t really make a mistake. That was my goal. Throw a ball in a spot I wanted to throw it in, get lucky.”
On coming to Atlanta
“It’s great. I’m in a situation to win. Any baseball player, any athlete’s dream is to get somewhere where you can win and be wanted, and I was wanted here. I’ve been greeted with open eyes. I’m excited to start this journey with this group of guys. It seems like a nice laid back clubhouse and the first day has been fun. Now I’ve got to go home, get some sleep and start all over again.”
Grow up as a Braves fan?
“I grew up (in Kentucky). Being in Kentucky you saw two games. You saw the Cubs, you saw the Braves. I’m a huge … Glavine is like my idol. I’m a huge Glavine fan, watching Glavine, Maddux and Avery throw with me coming up, that’s kind of who I idolized. To end up here, 15, 20 years later, it’s something to said, and maybe it’s the way it was supposed to be. Who knows. I’m excited to be here. We’ll see where it goes from here.”
On the wild game
“That was crazy. I’m glad we came out on the winning end of that one Simmons just keeps coming up with some big knocks. I tell you what, you saw our guys fall back in a big deficit and came right back and put a big number, in that one inning, got right back in the ballgame.
“I thought our bullpen did a terrific job trying to cover all those innings and keep the game right there. We had a chance to win it in the ninth inning. That didn’t happen. Scott Downs came in, boy he made a really big impact to our club. Came in to face Todd Helton, one of the premier left-handed hitters in the league. To get him out and go out and get the next inning and get out of the jam and get the win also — that was an impressive outing for Scott.”
On Simmons doing that before in WBC, last year a few times, this year….
“Yeah, he likes that stage. He doesn’t panic. I think he’s going to be one of those guys that the more he matures, the more he grows, the better he’s going to be in those situations. Not only the offensive stuff, but how about the double play ball in the eighth inning to get Avilan out of that jam defensively. Him and Danny both had terrific days defensively.”
“First outing, it’s tough to even evaluate it. I’m not even going to evaluate it. His first outing, it’s (like) coming out of spring training for him, maybe even worse – Tommy John – so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow, throw him a side and go get them in five days.”
On managing this vs. 2-1 game
“Extra-inning games are no fun. You run out of players, you’re running out of pitching, you’re hoping that somebody splits the gap there and you win the ballgame. You don’t want to keep playing extra frames. Our guys came up big today. At the end of the game and also the beginning of the game to get right back into the game.”
On Carpenter, other guys in the middle innings
“Yeah, gave us 2 1/3 innings of work, and kept it right there. he did a nice job. Ayala came in and did a nice job. The bullpen guys. Walden, more times than not he’ll get out of that jam. Today he didn’t.”
On playing like a Coors Field game
“It was a wacky game. You’re exactly right. I made that comment in the dugout today, I said ‘Shoot, I thought we were playing at home today instead of Coors Field.’ Again, I’m glad we came out on the winning end of it.”
When did Downs arrive?
“I saw him fourth inning, fifth inning, he popped his head out in the dugout. I don’t know exactly when he got here. I’m sure when you get here you’ve got to get shoes, uniform, all that kind of stuff. Boy, he made a nice couple pitches there late in the game.”
— quotes compiled by David O’Brien and Carroll Rogers