On 9th-inning rally that fell short
“These guys battle, it really doesn’t surprise me. We had the right guy at the plate, too. (Johnson) had a hell of an at-bat. Jimmy (Rollins) made a great play on it, to not only stop the run from scoring but also get up and throw him out at first base.
“Justin had a great at-bat and got us back within range there. Anything can happen.”
“Mike did OK. Mike gave us a great chance to win the game. Gave us six innings, gave up two runs. It was a one-run ballgame there, we handed it off to the bullpen and just couldn’t quite get that last out against some of their left-handed hitters.”
On sloppy plays in seventh inning
“CJ with the throwing error (fifth error) and Gattis with the other one, and the pickoff play. We just kind of gave them extra outs and it got us behind the eight-ball a little bit. But then you feel like we had some situations, with Downsy with Brown (in seventh) and then Woody with Utley (in the eighth). They didn’t hit the ball hard but found a hole and got runs out of it.”
On Walden’s relief appearance
“For the first time out in a while, I thought it was OK. We’ll check with his health tomorrow. I think he’s going to be OK. Roger and I will talk after you guys leave, see what the next step is, maybe run him back out there one more time just to make sure he’s OK.”
“We probably won’t pitch him tomorrow. We’ll see about sending him down to Orlando (instructional league). Just get him back out there again.” (once more before roster decision)
Did you think Johnson would at least beat the throw from Rollins, so deep in the hole?
“He’s not the fleetest guy in the world. He busted it down the line. Rollins not only made a great play stopping that ball from going in the outfield, but to get up and throw Chris out at first base. It’s a good play by him.”
Treat tomorrow basically like a playoff game?
“Yeah, I think it’s big. The way we played this last inning, we need to come out and … that’s still a big carrot for us, for us to win and St. Louis to lose and (Braves) get the No. 1 seed.”
After facing Cliff Lee on Friday, you had to figure you’d get some hits tonight against Ethan Martin and cast of relievers?
“But it usually doesn’t work out that way. Gerald, and maybe some other guys, faced three different pitchers in the course of the game. It’s hard. Colorado did that to us this year or last year when they had the expanded roster. It’s tough to hit some times.”
On giving up couple runs in first inning, then no runs next five
“I’ve been struggling in the first inning, but tonight I felt like it was kind of bad luck. Bunt single on first pitch, second pitch was a double down the line. Second and third, nobody out. I ended up getting a strikeout and a walk, then I made a good pitch and (Rupp) got a jam shot up the middle.”
Happy with way you finished up in last start before postseason?
“Yeah, I felt good. Feel healthy. Feel like I had pretty good stuff tonight. Located OK. I was throwing a lot of balls in the dirt. They were low and they weren’t high, so I’ll take that.”
Didn’t give up long balls tonight after giving up four in past three starts
“Yeah, like I said I threw a lot of balls low rather than up in the zone. They got me behind in some counts, but it was better than letting balls tail up into some barrels.”
On his ninth-inning, three-run homer
“I was looking forward to that opportunity, and I got the pitch to hit.”
Approach tomorrow like you did today, even though home-field advantage not in your direct control now?
“Yeah, we still have business to handle. We still have to win a ballgame, come back here tomorrow and see what happens. It’s out of our control. We had control of it tonight and didn’t do it, so tomorrow it’s in their hands, but we still have to do what we have to do.”
Do you approach tomorrow like a playoff game or just the last game of the regular season?
“Regardless, we have to win baseball games in the playoffs, whether it’s at home the whole time or not. So we can’t put too much pressure on that ballgame. We’ve got to win on the road either way. Obviously we want to play here in front of the home fans throughout the playoffs, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to win ballgames.”
What were you thinking on that last play, Johnson’s groundout?
“I was just thinking how great of an at-bat Chris had. He got a good pitch to hit. He drilled it, it was on the ground, and J-Roll made a good play. There’s nothing we can do about that.”
View tonight as letting an opportunity slip away, or as a positive because of the rally though it fell short?
“It was a positive. We put ourselves in situations all game, runners in scoring position. We can’t expect Freddie to drive in every run. That’s too much pressure to put on him. We put ourselves in position to score runs. We didn’t. They put up five runs, and our late-inning comeback wasn’t enough.”
How’d you feel physically?
“I felt good.”
Struck out the last two batters you faced after initial problems
“Yeah, the last two strikeouts I kind of felt comfortable again. I was trying to get my delivery, my arm slot back, trying to get everything back in rhythm.”
Pleased to be used in a big situation like that first time out in a while?
“Yeah, I just wanted to get back out there and pitch. I just wanted to pitch and be healthy, to be honest.”
Despite the giving up couple of runs (one earned) and couple of hits, feel like you’re ready for postseason?
“Yeah, the last two batters gave me some confidence. Just got to build off those last two batters.”