10/02/11 12:46 AM ET
Postgame interview with Mike Napoli and Ian Kinsler
By / MLB.com
Q. Can you talk about your at bat there before you hit the double?
MIKE NAPOLI: Yeah. I got up there, had the bases loaded. We had a couple of things going, and I was just trying to hit the fly ball to the outfield and get another run in. And I got myself into a hitter's count and ended up 3 2 and fouled some pitches off.
And I was just trying to see a change up, stay short, and I got a changeup up and drove it pretty well.
Q. This question is for both of you. I know you guys obviously really are happy when you score a lot of runs with the home run, but particularly in the fourth inning, are you just as proud that you are able to score five runs without hitting a home run?
MIKE NAPOLI: Yeah, sure. I mean, we've done it all year. We scrap away at runs and, you know, we play good team baseball and we all do it together. We do good things. And, you know, that inning showed. We all did it together and it put some good at bats together and got it done.
IAN KINSLER: I mean, as an offense we are not too worried about how we are scoring runs. We just want to score runs any way we can, whether it's Murph swinging and missing and getting the first and the guy moving up or whatever it is.
As long as we're as long as we're scoring runs, we're happy.
Q. Mike, how big of an impact do you think throwing out Upton at third base had on the game?
MIKE NAPOLI: It was huge. They had a leadoff double and we got an out and then B.J. was trying to get there at third with less than two outs. So I think it was a big swing, just trying to make a good throw and threw him out. It was good for us.
Q. This question is for Ian. Ian, this is the first time the home team has won between these two teams, going back to last year, now this year in the division series. What is your mindset going to Tampa now?
IAN KINSLER: You know, it's going to be tough for us. We have basically three games left to see who can win two, and, you know, win a series, we have two of them at their place.
It will be tough on us. Obviously we're pretty happy we were able to split after losing the first one. Get a good day off. But it's going to be tough on us. We just need to come out and make sure our bats stay hot going into the two games in Tampa.
Q. Hey, Mike, you always hit for power. This year you hit .320 and I don't think you'd hit more than .270, .275. What kind of adjustments have you made?
MIKE NAPOLI: I am trying to get deep in the count and see a lot of pitches. You know, I think my two strike approach has gotten a lot better. I mean, I think a lot trying to shoot the hole through second there a lot and always trying to hit a home run.
So, you know, working with Cooly and Johnny Narron has helped me out a lot with approach and the mental part of the game.
So, you know, I just go up and try to get a tough at bat and get deep in the counts and see as many pitches as I can.
Q. Ian, what can you say about Mike's knack for the big hit all season long? And then, Mike, what can you say about how satisfying it is to continually be contributing in the way that you are?
IAN KINSLER: It has been incredible what this guy has been able to do, this porterhouse over here. You know, they're screaming "Napoli" there in that big at bat he had with the bases loaded and the whole stadium is chanting his last name, and I get the chills and I don't know how he is up there staying focused. But he had a heck of an at bat. He kept battling and battling, maybe seeing eight or nine pitches.
And, you know, it's just something that we expect, we have come to expect, which is I don't know if it is a good thing, but, you know, it is nice to have him at the plate in those big situations, and tonight he came through.
Q. After they won the first game, they send their ace to the hill and are feeling pretty good about it. Can you guys describe the significance of getting one in that situation, particularly against a guy who had done so well against you so far?
MIKE NAPOLI: Yeah, it was a huge game for us. He pitched well against us. For us to scrap away like we did tonight is huge to get back in the series. I don't think we after we lost last night, nobody put their heads down or was worried about anything. We just knew we had to come out here and just play our style of baseball. And I think we did that tonight. And we got a huge win.
Q. Just going back to the question for Mike, how nice is it to continue what you were doing in the regular season through the postseason?
MIKE NAPOLI: I mean, it is a great feeling. I come to the field every day to prepare and go out there and try to contribute. And, like I said, I go up there and I just try to give a tough at bat every time. I mean, even on the defensive side, I take pride in defense. I kind of got labeled as not such a good catcher, and I always thought that I was a good catcher, so to show it means a lot.
Q. This is for either of you guys. How big was the home run there from Mitch Moreland at the end of the game to give you that extra run cushion and for his confidence? You guys probably need him going into later in the series.
IAN KINSLER: Having a guy like Mitch hit in the 9 hole is huge. He is capable of doing that basically every at bat. He just missed one in center field tonight. You know, he has been battling a little bit of a hand injury, kind of slowed him down a little bit. And he is finally feeling better with that.
It was nice to see him get the big hit and give us that cushion. Any time you can give Nefi an extra run, it is big. That was a big hit for us.
Q. Mike, Ian raised a good point. When is the last time you heard them chanting your name?
MIKE NAPOLI: It was probably the first time ever. It was pretty loud, too. And when I heard it, I was like, You guys can't do this to me now in this situation. But I put a good at bat together and helped tie the game up.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you, guys.
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Postgame interview with Ron Washington
THE MODERATOR: Okay. We'll start right up here.
Q. You went with Mitch at first base tonight. He hasn't had a home run since June and tonight he came up big in the eighth inning.
RON WASHINGTON: No doubt about it. You know, as I said earlier, when Mitch came out of the lineup, it was because he was trying to get Cruz's at bats. But he has been working behind the scenes and today was an opportunity to get him at first base, and I did. And he came up big. He came up big not only with that home run, but he saved another run that they may have put on the board with that diving catch and getting that third out for Ogando.
Q. Wash, what did you think of Ogando's return to the bullpen and did you consider sending him out there for another inning?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, you know, he has done that before, and he was very good at it. But when we traded for Mike Adams and Uehara, we traded them for those situations. Uehara just didn't get the job done tonight.
Q. Wash, you guys couldn't get anything going against Shields the first few innings, but when you did jump on him, it just was a deluge. And almost everyone got a hit in the game, and several guys had several RBIs. Talk about how you guys pounded on them immediately.
RON WASHINGTON: Well, in the second inning there, after the second inning ended, in the third I thought we were beginning to handle them a little better. We started making him get the ball up, quit chasing the change up in the dirt and come in the zone. And he got erratic and he hit a couple of guys and we put some stuff together. Michael, Hamilton, he hit Elvis to start it all off. And then Napoli, Napoli got the big hit for us. And, you know, David had a strikeout where they didn't block the ball and that gave us an opportunity. And Beltre ran a ball off Shoppach pretty good and hustled home.
And before you knew it, we were playing our game and ready to go.
Q. Ron, obviously Derek struggled in the first two innings, managed to get through five innings. What did you think of his outing tonight?
RON WASHINGTON: I thought he battled hard. Especially after he got out of that first inning, and all he gave up was one run. Usually when you put yourself in that situation you want to do minimal damage. Too bad the minimal damage had to be a walk.
But he battled. You have to give him credit. That was his first time out there in that situation, and I thought he handled himself very well.
Q. Wash, that fourth inning was kind of typical of what the Rangers had become, and the aggressive play, obviously you got some help there. But that had to be pretty satisfying to see the guys put that together.
RON WASHINGTON: Well, it was very satisfying because Tampa has some great pitching over there, and pitching usually settle down a great offense.
But we kept grinding and kept grinding, and, you know, I think we got our confidence back. Not that we ever lost it, but we don't usually go through games where we totally get shut down. And yesterday we got shut down for two hits and no runs, but we made some adjustments on Shields and we were able to get him. And that's the good thing, so I am very pleased.
Q. Ron, as far as you know, your team had the best batting average in baseball and was particularly strong on offense in the last month of the season. How atypical was what we saw yesterday and how much of what you saw tonight is more what you guys are about?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, yesterday, like I said, you have to give Matt Moore credit. Good pitching will shut down hitting. We just didn't get on the kid. Hamilton was the only one that was able to find some holes. We hit some balls hard, it just didn't fall.
But you have to tip your hat. When you get a well pitched job, I don't care what type of hitters you have, pitching would probably win it anyway. And that's what happened.
Today, the first three innings, Shields was breezing through us pretty good, but we made the adjustments we had to make on him, make him get the ball up in the zone, quit chasing the change up, and some good things happened for us. We strung some hits together, and the next thing you know we were able to run the bases and do some things.
Q. Wash, it did appear that you kind of forced Shields away from the change up a little bit there in the fourth inning and he was throwing a lot of breaking balls, some of which went in the dirt and helped you out. Did they start your guys start waiting on the change up better than they had or making him get it up I guess?
RON WASHINGTON: It is obvious the two games we played against him, of course, he never threw his change up for strikes against us, and we were swinging at it. We are a team that swing the bat, and we go up there in situations and we swing the bat.
But, as I said, in the fourth inning we started making adjustments. Well, we started in the third trying to make sure we make him get the ball up. Not charge him too much, make sure we see what the pitch is before we attack. And some good things happened.
You know, it's not like we beat him around the yard, but we did enough to put some runs on the board, and beginning to feel good about what we can go out there and do.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Ron.
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