Kimbrel just rusty?
“I think so. He hadn’t pitched in seven days. For me it didn’t matter if the score was 1-nothing or 100-to-1, we were going to try to get him in the game today at some point, just to get him out and shake some of the rust off. And there at the end you don’t want him throwing a 30- or 40-pitch inning to get out of the jam. Roger and I talked about giving him about 23-25 pitches and getting him out of there.”
“The good thing is that we got him on the mound and got him pitching, and we’ll go from there.”
And he was pain-free?
“Yeah, I spoke with him a little bit after the game and he was fine. That’s a good, positive sign.”
His reaction to being taken out, he obviously wanted to stay in…
“Yeah, he does. And that’s what makes him good. At that point he doesn’t care about his arm, he doesn’t care about anything – he wants to finish that inning. And that’s why Roger and I get the big bucks, to take care of him and all the guys, to make those decisions. Because if we leave him in to finish the inning, all of a sudden he’s thrown 28-35 pitches. But with this outing, we’ll check with the day game tomorrow, but I don’t see any reason we can’t run him back out there in a save situation.”
Was Kimbrel calmer after the game, after cooling off a bit?
“Yeah, he’s fine. He came in here and we talked a little bit. He’s fine. Like all good athletes, they’re competitors, they want the ball. You’ve got to pry it out of their hands. He was terrific after (the game).”
On Santana getting out of so many jams tonight
“He takes advantage of the aggressiveness of the hitters, and he doesn’t give in. He makes great pitches with his secondary pitches and he commands those pitches. That last inning he pitched, he made some really good pitches there.”
Did you and Gattis have trouble getting on same page early?
“A little bit. But as the game goes on, we figured it out and got back on track.
On working out of repeated jams, feel good to get out of them even if you don’t want to be in them to begin with?
“Well, yeah, especially when they have a man on third with one out. It was a little difficult. I made my pitches and got out of jams.”
On watching Colon strike out and being amused
“Yeah, those were not friendly swings. I was like, whoa, OK, alright, then I’m going to strike you out then.”
Looked like you made a face back to him
“Yeah, I did. He knows. He was laughing too.”
Just one of the bad outings where you were rusty?
“Yeah, that was pretty bad. I was all over the place. I couldn’t get the curveball over at first. Just throwing fastballs over the plate, and when you do that it makes for a tough inning.”
To be expected after missing that much time?
“I don’t think anything like that should ever be expected. My job is to go out there and get outs, and I didn’t do that.”
Did you know you had a pitch limit going in?
“I hadn’t thrown in a week or so. Coming out there it (pitch limit) wasn’t something in the back of my mind, but I understand.”
Reaction when you were replaced out, just frustration at coming out?
“Yeah, I like to compete. I’m a competitor, and any time you get taken out obviously you get upset about it. And I did. I probably shouldn’t have acted like I did. It’s just one of those things, he’s trying to protect me from throwing too many pitches. We still got the win, so that’s awesome.”
You talk to Fredi about it afterward?
“I just went in and apologized to him. I mean, that’s disrespectful to him and to the team, and it’s just not the kind of person that I am, and I felt awful about it. So I wanted to make sure (he knew) that was just my competitiveness and my emotions.”
On the shoulder
“Shoulder felt fine. It felt great, actually. Maybe too good; I was having a hard time finding the strike zone. Come in tomorrow and hopefully it’s a situation I can get out there again.”
Relieved to see Walden get that last out?
“I think everybody was relieved. I mean, bases loaded and two outs in the last inning. We were all relieved to be able to come in here and go home.”
“He’s going out and giving us a chance to win, that’s all we can ask for. He keeps us on our toes. He pounds the zone and does a great job. He’s got good stuff.”
On winning in a bunch of different ways on this trip
“Baseball’s crazy, man. You never know how games are going to go. You’ve just got to continue to pitch, play defense, put together good at-bats and see what happens in the end. You’ve just got to keep playing the game.”
On the starting pitchers
“They’ve done a great job. Can’t say enough about them. Our bats have been kind of on and off, depending what day it is. They showed up and picked us up every day. At some point we’ll be able to pick them up. That’s just how a team works. But they’ve done an unbelievable job.”
(Wouldn’t say how he hurt his right middle finger, which was bandaged and which he had X-rayed after game)
Did you hurt your finger during the game?
“Yeah, during the game. Everything’s fine, it’s just sore right now.”
Did you do it on the field?
“Yeah. (Smiles.) It’s just sore right now. That’s it. I’ll be fine.”
So it’s safe to say you don’t want to say how you did it?
“It’s just sore right now. Just during the game. I got X-rays, everything’s fine. I’ll be alright tomorrow.”