PHOENIX — Braves quotes from Craig Kimbrel, Jason Heyward, Julio Teheran and manager Fredi Gonzalez after Friday night’s win at Arizona.
On Teheran’s performance
“We talked about it a little in our pregame (session with reporters), how he gives you an opportunity to win a game. He goes deep in games, handles the bat so you can leave him in at times. He settled down. First at-bat of the game, home run, and he only gave up (one run) the rest of the game. So it was a great start.”
On the offense
“Offensively, Jason had a great night, Schafer had a great night from the bottom of the lineup. Tommy (La Stella) had a couple of hits. We were able to add on some runs there late in the top of the ninth inning, which made it nice.”
On Kimbrel getting record with four-out save
“He hadn’t pitched since last Saturday, so we were able to do that. Set an Atlanta Braves record. Good for him, good for us that we have him in the back of the game. It sure is a nice luxury.”
What does it say about Shae Simmons that you went to him in that crucial situation in eighth with runner on and one out?
“Well, he’s got stuff. He’s got a big fastball and he’s got some breaking pitches. He only needed one pitch to face Goldschmidt there. I’d rather face him (Goldschmidt) with two out with Kimbrel, but we walked the left-hander when Woody walks Parra. You hate to bring in Kimbrel for a (five) out save situation, so…. That was a big out (by Simmons) there.”
Perfect situation to use Kimbrel for four outs, since he was so rested?
“Correct. And tomorrow in same situation we probably wouldn’t use him for four outs, we’d use him for a traditional save. We used him in Boston in same situation, but I think the game was tied if I’m not mistaken. But again, he hadn’t pitched in four or five days so we had that luxury.”
Nice to have it over with for Craig, the record?
“Yes. It’s a milestone that he’s going to set (so high) that whenever he’s done with his career it’s going to be tough for anyone to reach here in the Atlanta Braves organization.”
On Heyward’s recent impact
“With him in the leadoff spot and Schafter in the eight-hole, those guys were on base six or seven times. La Stella had a couple of hits, so we had some people on base and we swung the bats well. Can’t complain there.”
On Rivera and Hoffman having more than 600 saves
“Both of those guys were this type of pitcher when they were young – big power pitchers – and then they were able to do some (different) stuff. Maybe he gets an opportunity to pitch into his late 30s, early 40s and maybe catch them.”
You ever think you’re awful young to be setting franchise career records?
“Yeah, I guess. I got a chance at a young age and have been put in some situations and am where I am now. That’s pretty awesome.”
Would hitting in ninth inning have been the cherry on top of this record? (joking)
“Well, it kind of confused me, really. (Gonzalez) told me to go grab a bat and I had no idea. I was just standing at the bat rack like a lost puppy. I didn’t know whose helmet I should grab or whose bat I should grab or whose gloves. It kind of took my mind away from (getting the save) for a little bit, which was helpful and nice.”
On offense tacking on couple of runs in ninth to make it a little easier
“They definitely went out there and got those insurance runs. That always makes it easier. One-run game, one pitch can be the difference in the game. For it to become a three-run game makes a big difference.”
On four-out saves (this was his first of the season)
“I mean, they’re OK. I like them. My job is to pitch, so if I have to come in and get four or five outs, that’s my job, that’s what I’m supposed to do.”
Nice getting the record out of the way?
“It is. It’s nice to win. It’s a big win for us. After losing those two games at home, to start this road trip off with a win is pretty big.”
On surpassing any record held by a pitcher as distinguished as Smoltz
“Like I’ve said, I’ve been a part of a lot of good teams and had a lot of opportunities. Having a chance my first full season to be a closer, that doesn’t happen very often. I had that opportunity that not a lot of guys have, and I feel blessed.”
On his performance, overcoming leadoff homer in first
“Just concentrated. I made two mistakes in the game that cost me two runs, but I’m just happy that I got the support of my team. We did a great job working as a team and we got the win.”
On giving up a run early once again, then almost nothing more
“Yeah, this time it happened (gave up lead) with the pitcher. I just tried to focus a little bit more and got a little bit (overconfident) because it was the pitcher hitting. That’s what happened with that second run.”
You didn’t have a lot of stressful innings, did you feel like you were cruising most of the game?
“Yeah, I mean, I don’t try to stress the whole time. Just tried to take a (deep) breath and make my pitches. That’s what I did the whole game, and that’s what has been helping me with my games.”
On Kimbrel setting the record
“I’m excited for him. He deserves it, and that’s only the start of what he’s going to do for this team.”
On how he’s feeling at the plate
“Feeling good to not have to worry about how I’m feeling. You know? Just go out there and try and execute. Keep it simple, have good timing, and take what the game gives me.”
On his opposite-field homer and hitting lot of balls there lately
“It’s good to be able to go wherever they pitch it, not try to do too much. Just let the pitcher dictate where you hit the ball, and regardless of the situation just try to go up there and keep it simple.”
On Teheran winning his fourth consecutive start
“Impressive. I just said wow after he came out of the game. I know he gave up the home run and he gave up a cheap run to the pitcher, but I mean he held them right there. Literally held them right there. He and Gat were the reason they didn’t score any more and we were able to come back and put up some runs.”
On Kimbrel’s four-out save, helping make it easy for him with the two runs in ninth
“I don’t know if he’ll ever tell you it’s easy, but I’m very happy for him. Glad he could get it. It would have obviously been nice to get it at home, but I’m happy for him. I’ve played with him for four years and some change and he’s already the franchise leader in saves, so that’s pretty cool.”
On possibility of Kimbrel batting in ninth
“He said he didn’t have any idea what to do. I said, just get in there and as soon as they’re about to let go of the ball, step out. Just step out, please. That would’ve been fun.”
On the pitch he hit out the other way for homer
“Fastball up and away I believe. It was up and not over. I’ve got some long arms, I can reach it kind of. But again, wasn’t trying to do too much. Just trying to hit something hard, and it happened to get out.”
That’s two or three HRs the other way during this hot stretch of yours
“Yeah. Again, man, just try to let them dictate where I’m hitting it. Not trying to pull, not trying to go the other way, just trying to be on time and not miss the good ones to hit. It’s not going to happen every time, but obviously the more times I do it right, it’s good for me. But again, good team win, good way to start a road trip.”
The rook, La Stella, also seems to follow that hit it where it’s pitched mantra
“That’s his game. Obviously I think he’s got some pop; he shows it in BP. But he’s not trying to do too much, he’s content with getting a base hit. And he takes his walks. That’s huge. I feel like that’s the way we all try to get it done, it’s just not that easy. He’s making it look pretty easy right now.”
He a nice element to add to lineup?
“Absolutely. Anytime we can go up and put ABs up that way, it makes the other team work. It’s just passing the bat, taking what they give you.”