10/12/11 11:25 PM ET
A postgame interview with Ron Washington
By / MLB.com
THE MODERATOR: First question for Ron Washington, please.
Q. Hey, Wash, can you talk about the great series that Nelson is having and making the great defensive play and coming back and hitting another 11th inning home run today?
RON WASHINGTON: Today we certainly needed what he gave us. For you guys that haven't seen Nelson every day, he's capable of doing exactly what he's doing. I'm just happy that we as the Texas Rangers are reaping the benefit of it. We've been waiting for it for a long time, and as I always say, I don't judge Nelson just because he hits balls out the ballpark. He's a complete player. He takes pride in every part of the game. Tonight it was thank you Nelson Cruz.
Q. Wash, you had said a couple of weeks ago that Mike Napoli meant so much to this club and you had said a little something about how when he was talking about being in Anaheim, it was so good for him to be here, that he finally belonged. Can you talk a little bit about him as a defensive player and making two big defensive plays tonight holding on to the ball and also throwing out Austin Jackson?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, you know, Mike is a quality baseball player. I call him a dirt bag, because he's a gamer, and he tries to do whatever it takes to help his team win a ballgame. He's always putting quality at bats up there for you, and tonight was a huge base hit for us. You're right with Cabrera coming down the line, could have scared him off, but he caught that ball and he made sure that he had it, and he took the lick. Tampa Bay, we called a pitchout. He made an excellent throw right there with Austin Jackson running we needed him to make an excellent throw. He did. Whatever part of the game we need him to excel in. Since he joined us, he's been excelling in it. We are very happy to have him a part of our club.
Q. Ron, I want to ask about the intentional walk in the eighth. Pretty unusual strategy, but it obviously worked out for you.
RON WASHINGTON: It almost didn't, but we tried to pitch around Cabrera twice, and he got us. So this time I wasn't taking any chance. And it almost came back and bit me. But he's the best baseball player out there. I mean, this guy can just do so much. As the year went on, he got better as a defensive player. He made a tremendous play yesterday. You know, I just was not going to let him take a swing of the bat, because I took chances before, and he made me pay for it both times. First time shame on you, next time shame on me. I respect Martinez a heck of a lot. Once again, he got that base hit and we almost paid for it, but I certainly wasn't going to let him have a swing of the bat there and beat us.
Q. In the ninth, was that a mixup with Cruz when he got caught on the late jump to second?
RON WASHINGTON: No, that was Cruz trying to improvise and trying to do something. It's pretty tough when Benoit is out there, because he takes so long to deliver the ball, and he timed him, and he went a split second longer than he expected.
Q. Ron, what's it mean when you get a unifying performance from a catcher like that for your team? What does it do overall for helping the team?
RON WASHINGTON: He pumps everyone up. Mike Napoli, I call him a dirt bag. Because that's the way he plays. He's just been tremendous for us the way he help out with young pitchers get through innings. The way he leads in that clubhouse. The way he leads on the bench. He not only brought quality play, but he also brought leadership to go along with the leadership we already had here.
THE MODERATOR: Ron, thank you very much.
A postgame interview with Cruz and Napoli
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Nelson, the play in the eighth inning where you throw Cabrera out at the plate, can you sort of detail how that play went? The angle you went to the ball, how you were able to get the throw off?
NELSON CRUZ: That situation when I get behind to the ball, thanks God I make a really good throw one hop. Throw it to Napoli so this time he can stay with the ball.
Q. Mike, just your perspective of that play, kind of bracing yourself there for Miguel coming in from third.
MIKE NAPOLI: I know in that situation there's probably going to be a collision at the plate or it's going to be a close play. Crucial time of the game. Nellie gave me a good throw, gave me enough time to where I can brace and get low and just a great play.
Q. Nelson, you had big home runs. You had a good postseason last year. But I think you're topping yourself in this series. You're the first person to ever hit two extra inning home runs in a postseason series. Can you talk about your 11th inning heroics in both games?
NELSON CRUZ: Like I said, thanks God because he gave me the chance to perform in that situation. It's not easy, like people ask me if it's that easy. I guess if you can swing good results are going to come.
Q. Mike, in this series you've had two extra inning victories and the other win that you've had over Detroit was a one run decision. I wonder if you can give me an overview of how you've seen the series against the Tigers to this point?
MIKE NAPOLI: It's been a great series. If you don't like baseball, you probably like it now watching these games. We expected a tough series, and we've been able to come out on top. And it's been fun.
Q. Mike, besides the collision, throwing out Austin Jackson, how important has it been to play defense and to play catcher and be that part of the team?
MIKE NAPOLI: I'm glad I can do it on the defensive side. Like I said before, I kind of got labeled as not too good behind the plate. And I'm glad I can show it and be myself behind the plate and just help us win. It's been great.
Q. Mike, as the play in the eighth unfolded where you get the double play at the plate, when the ball leaves, are you saying to yourself I know Nellie has a strong arm, he's going to give me a heck of a shot here?
MIKE NAPOLI: Yeah. He has one of the best arms in the game. He came up firing and gave me a good one hop. Like I said, he gave me enough time to be able to get low and make the play.
Q. Mike, you played with a pretty good player in the Angels in Vlady. How do you compare this guy?
MIKE NAPOLI: They're two great players. Nellie has done a great job for us. He had a tough situation when he was hurt and coming back and he didn't have any rehab assignment. He's been finding his swing and getting his timing down. He's been huge for us.
NELSON CRUZ: Together.
THE MODERATOR: Anything else?
Q. Nelson, people know you for your bat. How much pride do you take in your defensive ability?
NELSON CRUZ: I mean, Gary (Pettis) make sure we work every day. We throw to the bases every day. We take fly balls every day, make sure we know the ballpark, we know any situation we can be involved in during the game. When you prepare, everything comes more easy.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you both very much.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.