Did you feel as relaxed as you looked after the second inning?
“I had a little problem with my finger in the second, but I felt good. The pitch I gave up the home run on … it wasn’t a bad pitch. Down-and-in instead belt-and-in, which is what we were trying to do.
“But after the first couple of innings I settled down and me and Mac kind of took control of the game and we were clicking throughout the rest of the game. It definitely felt good to go out there and do that for the first time. It was exciting for me.”
On his left index finger, cuticle that split open again
“I’ve been kind of nursing it between the last two starts to make sure it was ready to go today, and I think it was probably better when it cut open because I was able to get the little piece of skin off and get it fixed up. After that, I was good to go. It gave me no problems the rest of the way and I felt good out there.”
“We had a game plan going in, and that was just a small hiccup. It could have been anything out there, it just happened to be my finger. We got it fixed up and it was good to go.”
On the six-run inning, did that take some pressure off you?
“Oh, yeah, no doubt. We’re swinging the bats pretty good right now. Anytime those guys score, my biggest thing is go get a shutdown, whether it’s one run or six runs (that the Braves score) in an inning. The way we’re swinging the bats now, the goal is to keep us in the game, keep it competitive and within reach. If we can do that, then I think we’ve got a chance to win every every time out.”
On today compared to how bad he felt after getting roughed up at New York last week
“Today it was kind of two big (differences) for me. The preparation I was able to do, Mike Minor helped me a ton, kind of getting me in the video room and showing me the ropes with that. Up here, you’ve got to take advantage of your resources, and from a preparation standpoint, in terms of video and knowing what I wanted to do to their lineup, was really key for me. That, and kind of having a normal in-between starts routine, from day to day, the running, the lifting… It was really the first week that I was able to do that. And obviously my endurance is starting to come back a little bit after being in the ‘pen for a little while. I’m excited, man. Go out my next start and do the same thing, you know?”
“He settled down and started throwing all of his pitches. He did a nice job. I think the more we run him out there, the more comfortable he’s going to get. He did a nice job getting to his change-up after the third inning. He and Mac and Roger (McDowell) did a nice job to make him throw his change-up. He was throwing his curveball over earlier on, or going to his curveball. Then he switched and went to his change-up and came back to the curveball a little bit later on. That was a nice game plan.”
Gave up the Arenado home run and then almost nother after that
“He was nails. For a night that we needed some length from our starter, for a young pitcher to be able to do that, that’s a nice growth right there for him. And for him to earn his first win, that’s nice also. Cunningham getting a base hit there, lot of good stuff happening today.”
On Freeman’s two homers getting lost in night of firsts
“Freeman, he’s been our most consistent hitter the whole year for us. Nice to see him come back and swing the bat like he is. I thought from 1-8 we did a nice job, nice approach at the plate, and swinging the bats and adding some runs late in the game.”
On six-run innings last two nights
“When you keep the line moving and have good quality at-bats, we can do that to people. We’ve got that kind of offense.”
Has the offense been showing signs of that recently?
“I think so. You see guys’ at-bats are getting better and better. It’s nice to see them keep the line moving.”
On Cunningham looking cool in big moment
“He’s a guy that’s been around a little bit, he’s been in the organization. It’s not like he came from someplace else. He knows all these guys and the guys they really embraced him when he came in and gave him a little harassment, all that kind of stuff. He took it great. Sorry to ruin his day off. He had a day off in Gwinnett to bring him up here. But I think he’s going to forgive me for that one.”
On who you sign the lineup card for, Wood or Cunningham
“That’s a good question. We’re going to make two. Woody gets his first win and then Carlos (Tosca), who’s in charge of the lineup, is going to make another one and give that to TC.”
Could you see Wood getting more comfortable after the early innings
“I did. He went to his change-up and starting pounding the fastball in and then later on it was a nice sign he came back to the curveball. It was a nice outing for him.”
On what first at-bat was like
“Heart’s beating fast, palms are sweaty, all the clichés, but it’s all about controlling that. I guess I did well enough to get the knock so it was a good one.”
On what he knew about Francis walking to plate
“They have all the advance scouting reports in the dugout, so I kind of read over it, so I knew he featured the fastball away, threw his change-up a lot and had that slow curveball. So I was looking fastball away, got the change-up and kind of hooked it in the hole.”
On the ovation he got at the plate, but also going out to left field
“They were out of control, weren’t they? They were wild out there. I’m not sure if I know them or not. I tried not to look.”
On what Heyward told you when they were switching pitchers, when you hugged
“He said congratulations, then gave me a spiel about how I need to keep working hard, don’t get complacent basically. Being a veteran on the team, that’s his role so that’s what he did.”
On getting congratulations from Todd Helton
“I asked him about his first hit. He said it felt like a long time ago. I’m not sure why.”
On if he got the ball from his first hit
“I have a decoy right now, hopefully I get it at some point. We’ll see. I didn’t expect to get it right away, not too upset about it.”
On when came in, giving you a hard time
“You hear all the horror stories and you know it’s coming but if you kind of own it, it’s not so bad.”
On what they did
“They played a video of mine that was released a couple years ago. I think they were expecting a little more embarrassment than they got so I guess they were more embarrassed than me. That’s all right.”
On thoughts when Fredi told him he was pinch-hitting
“Let’s do this. I’d been preparing throughout the game. Terdo was really good about walking me through what Reed Johnson has passed down to him, as a team, off the bench hitting has been really good this year, so trying to feed off of what they’ve been doing their routine. Just kind of following him around and getting ready throughout the game so once it came time, it was just a matter of going out and giving it what I got.”
Your phone blowing up?
“Yeah, it’s 50 texts or something like that. I keep clearing them and they just keep coming so.”
On his two-run single after they intentionally walked Freeman to load bases
“I was just excited for the at-bat, looking to get a hit. Lucky I got a pitch in the zone, a little slider, got it off the end a little bit, just enough to get it through, and we scored two.”
On the offense past two nights, the two six-run innings
“It’s been awesome. We bounced back yesterday, we came from behind. It’s been good lately for us.”
On Alex Wood
“He was good. Real good.”
Settled down, didn’t he
“Yeah, absolutely. I think he errs on the side of caution a little bit. If he wants to throw it down-and-away, he’s got to throw it down-and-away, you know what I’m saying? But I think he’s getting used to his stuff and how the league responds to it, getting a little more confidence.”
On Simmons’ relay throw to nail Cuddyer at plate
“I was like, oh, he (Cuddyer) is hosed. The place went nuts. It was awesome.”
On Alex Wood
“He really showed his composure, just staying in the game, keeping us in the game and giving us a chance.”
Which was more enjoyable, the double play you turned Sunday or the throw to the plate tonight?
“I want to say the double play the other night, because it was a closer game. But I enjoyed both. I enjoy all of them. It was a nice pick by Mac, by the way. That was a nice pick.”
On getting a play fall in place like that, where you get a chance to make a throw to the plate
“I don’t get that very often. As soon as a I got it, I heard Dan say, ‘Four! Four! Four! I was like, OK, I’m going four (to the plate) no matter what. Just try to keep it down so I didn’t throw it over the fence. And Mac helped me pretty good right there.”
On his 10 homers vs. Rockies, something about purple uniform?
“I don’t know about that. I do look up there and see my career numbers against them, but I don’t know what it is. I credit everything to (Greg) Walker and Fletch (Scott Fletcher) today. Before BP today they pulled up some video and they said I was loading (in swing) backward, I wasn’t even in my load. So that’s what we worked on today, and it carried over.”
You notice the offense doing better lately?
“I definitely am. We’re missing B.J., too. He’s going on rehab tomorrow; that’s going to be big to get him back. But our guys have filled in great. We’ve got a very balanced lineup right now. It’s crazy that Jason is leading off. It’s weird. And Justin hitting second. But it’s all coming together and we’re putting some runs up there right now.”
On Alex Wood
“He was awesome. The first couple (innings) he gave up some runs, but we were able to start scoring some runs. We got ahead of them and then he just settled down. He was moving in and out. He gave us seven strong innings tonight, and to get his first career win is pretty awesome.”
Fell behind again, do you ever feel like this team is out of it in a game?
“Not with our offense. Seems like we always get a couple of guys on and we’re one swing away. We just keep grinding. We know we’re not going to get down. We’ve got nine innings.”
On Alex Wood settling down
“Yeah, he did. The pitch that Arenado hit out, it actually looked like a pretty good pitch, down and in. He just kind of dropped the (bat) head on it. But that’s going to happen. He kept them right there, settled down and did great.”
On six-run innings last two nights
“We’re definitely capable of doing that at any point in time. It’s about being more consistent.”