ALCS Gm2: Washington on walk-off win in ALCS Game 2

Rangers manager Ron Washington spoke with the media following Monday's 7-3 win over the Tigers in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series.

Q. Ron, how do you guys feel now with the 2-0 lead going into Detroit? It still seems like it could be a long series.

Washington: It probably will be a long series. You got two teams competing that will not quit. And you know, we certainly had an opportunity earlier in the game with the bases loaded, didn't get it done. That time we got it done. It was one heck of a ballgame. All the stops were pulled out.

We feel pretty good about ourselves. But we know we have to go into Detroit and we have to play. That's the way it's going to be until you finally make it to where you want to get.

Q. Wash, in the postseason you have been asking Feliz to get more than three outs. Is that just a reflection of the time of year? You need more from him now?

Washington: It worked that way tonight. We had to get more out of him. We had to get more out of most of the guys we put out there because of the way the ballgame went. Cruz had got us the home run to tie the ballgame.

After that, we had to use our mitt guys and get as much out of them as we possibly could. So we asked Neffy about giving us an extra inning. He said he could do it. There he is.

Q. Can you talk about Ogando's performance tonight, and then you went to Gonzalez and then you came to Feliz. Can you talk about that transition?

Washington: Well, you know, we really had no intentions on trying to get two innings out of Ogando tonight. But we had to. We had to try to push it. Kelly doesn't hit very well against left-handers.

Gonzo has nails getting lefties out for us. Decided to go there. Kelly got a base hit. The thing is, I bust out of the dugout too quick not thinking, and because I was asking Mike is Neffy down there ready for Cabrera, he hits the double, I jump out of the dugout.

I could have let Mike Gonzalez walk Cabrera. But I wasn't going to face Cabrera. Neffy came in and got us out of the inning.

Q. Can you talk about what you're seeing from Cruz right you know? And also the fact that he got hit, how hurt was he at that time?

Washington: Well, he was scared, because he got hit in the wrist. It was black and blue. So he was a little scared.

But after the doctor checked him and told him he was fine, then Nelson got up. But what he's done tonight, he's capable of doing. He did it for us during the course of the year when he was healthy. It couldn't have come back to him at the right time.

We certainly needed everything he gave us tonight. He tied the ballgame and he won it.

Q. Wash, talk a little more about your decision there to load the bases by walking Cabrera. Feliz could get a little wild at times, bases loaded, now you're facing a left-hander. That kind of goes against your book, doesn't it?

Washington: No, it didn't go against my book when you had to pick your poison there. You had to decide if you wanted to give Cabrera a chance to beat you, or you had to go with Martinez, who can also beat you.

When this series started, we said we were not going to give Cabrera a chance to swing the bat and beat us, so Martinez had to do it. Neffy comes in and gets all kinds of hitters out. Lefties, righties and if there's any other different kind. It was just one of those things where you had to pick your poison. And we decided to go with Martinez, and he got him.

Q. Wash, Nelson has been trying to get his stroke back. Did you feel good after he hit that opposite-field double? And did you see some kind of performance like this coming?

Washington: When Nelson is putting the ball to the middle of the field, especially the opposite way, you know he's staying on the pitch. The home run he ended up hitting to win the ballgame, all he was trying to do was stay in the big part of the field, and he reacted. That's what Nelson has to do. When he does that, good things happen. Certainly good things happened for us tonight twice.

Q. Ron, was your confidence lifted when you got past Jose Valverde those two innings and felt more confident that you could hit off the rest of the bullpen?

Washington: Well, I was very confident we could get Valverde. Especially when we had the bases loaded right there. All we needed to do was get a ball in the air firmly and it would have got done.

But this guy gets outs. He got out of it. He's used to getting out of it. He showed why he's been the best closer in the game today. Hasn't blown one yet. It didn't happen. But we were always confident. Even after he come out the next inning, we were confident. But it didn't happen.

And then each and every one of us had to go to different parts of the bullpen tonight. Thank God Mike came in and got done what he had to get done, and we walked them off the field.

Q. Will you keep Nelson in the seven spot in the lineup?

Washington: For right now. Nelson is starting to get it together. I think as we move forward, you won't see him in the seventh slot.

But right now I think that works for us, and when I change it, everyone will know.

Interview with Nelson Cruz and Scott Feldman

Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz and pitcher Scott Feldman spoke with the media following Monday's 7-3 win over the Tigers in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series.

Q. Nellie, in your last at-bat, can you take us through what you were looking for, what you got around the bases?

Cruz: It was amazing. It was a really good game. They do a really good job. Mixing the pitches. They got up 12th inning bases loaded, no outs. First two pitches I was too aggressive. I hit the ball, foul ball, foul ball. So after that, I told myself just slow down and try to hit a fly ball to the outfield.

Q. Nellie, can you talk about the pitch that hit you and how that affected your next at-bat?

Cruz: When I got hit, I thought it was worse. I think the adrenaline in the game had to be really bad to come out of the game, not feel the pain. In that situation you want to stay in the game. Thank God I got a chance to win the game.

Q. Nelson, there have been a lot of big postseason home runs. I'm not sure if you're aware of it. Yours was the first walk-off grand slam. What does that mean to you given all the big home runs that have been hit in the history of postseason baseball?

Cruz: It's special, you know. When you get a chance to get a W, that's the most important thing. Besides that, everything happened on the field. Usually when I get a W, that's the most important thing.

Q. Scott, I know you've had trouble with the Tigers. Can you talk about your performance and how you tamed them today?

Feldman: I just went in there and just tried to stay ready down there. When they called for me, just really tried to keep the game close. That's all you can really do in that situation. Get our guys back in there as quick as possible to start swinging.

Q. Nellie, in the ninth when you were in the outfield, Kelly doubles into the corner. A two out double. Did you get a good bounce, and were you thinking we have a shot to hold this guy from trying to score?

Cruz: Yes, with a man on first, you've got to play no doubles, as close to the gap, as close to the wall. I pick it up as quick as I can. I even bobbled it a little bit. I throw the ball as quick as I can, like I said.

Q. Scott, after what you've been through in the last year, how much does it mean to you just to be in this situation and get that chance?

Feldman: You know, it's great. Everybody wants to be in this situation. You know, luckily today we came out on top. I think mainly the number one thing is just got a great group of guys here, and you know for me I can honestly say that was probably the coolest game I've ever been a part of. When I got done even watching that game I thought my beard was going to turn gray. Nerve racking, but it was awesome when this guy right here walked it off at the end.

Q. Because you've been struggling a little bit, did you do anything to get ready for this game that turned it around for you?

Cruz: No, just I keep my same approach. I keep working with Coolbaugh in the cage. Also, I do some stuff at my house. Try to keep my swing in the right direction. Like I said, it's amazing when you play around those group of guys. Everybody is pulling the same way. Whatever you put out there, it looked like they do a good job. It's a blessing to be around those guys.