— quotes compiled by Chris Vivlamore and Michael Cunningham
Braves quotes from B.J. Upton, Christian Bethancourt, Ervin Santana, Craig Kimbrel and manager Fredi Gonzalez after Wednesday’s 7-4 win over the Phillies.
“We moved the line, up and down the lineup, everybody contributed it seemed like. We got a good pitching performance by (Ervin) Santana. Not a great one but a good one, just good enough. Then our bullpen did a terrific job with (Chasen) Shreve coming in the seventh and getting those left-handers, then (David) Carpenter and (Craig) Kimbrel in the ninth inning. I was really, really pleased with the at-bats. And getting some base on balls also. I thought Jason (Heyward’s) at-bat, putting the ball in play with second and third and getting a ground ball was big to keep adding runs and putting some numbers up.”
On quality of at-bats
“It happens. Base hits. You can say the quality of at-bats was because we got results but I think the effort was still the same as last night. We only got three hits and no runs. Today you could say the quality of at-bats was better because we got results. I think the effort is there always. Sometimes you get the hits, sometimes you don’t.”
On Christian Bethancourt
“There is no question in my mind that defensively this kid is ready to play in the major leagues. Offensively, he is going to hit and like every young player, when they see enough of him, he’s going to have to make some adjustments. Right now, he got three hits, drove in two and did a heck of a job behind the plate.”
On whether he breathed easier after scoring in second inning
“I don’t breathe easier until that last out is made. (Ryan) Doumit came in and hadn’t started, I think the last time he started was in L.A. if I’m not mistaken. He comes in and gives you good at-bats. He got a couple hits too. … He gave us good at-bats. B.J. (Upton) with a two-run homer and probably the ball to the shortstop may have been harder hit than the home run. It was a good effort and we got some results offensively.”
On not relying on home run
“That is always the key. I know it’s hard for our club because we strike out a lot. It seems like when we win, I think early on in the year we won a lot of games without the home run. We can do it. It was a great win today after scoring one run in four games, going out and scoring seven. It was a good win. Off day tomorrow and then we’ll go back at it.”
On Bethancourt’s improvement as hitter than earlier call-up
“Yes, I have. Today was only four at-bats but the time he was here earlier in the year, I think he ended up playing 10 or 12 games, you could see there was some improvement there. Obviously, he had a pretty good Triple-A season. Here is a guy, I keep saying, may be better off for it in the long run by staying two years in Double-A, two years in Triple-A, instead of some of the other guys who need to learn how to hit at the major league level. He is better off for it.”
“We’d like to win all of them but every one counts right now. We didn’t hang our heads after the last two days and we came back today and scratched out a win.”
On manufacturing runs
“You always want to scratch out runs when you can. It didn’t happen the last few days. We came out and set the tone today.”
On difference contacts have made at the plate
“You know what? It’s about the same. The glare is not messing with me as much with the lights but other than that there is nothing really different.”
On pitch he hit for home run
“I think it was a fastball. It’s kind of see ball, hit ball right now.”
On his game
“I’m just trying to do my job. I’m trying to help my team get the win. I mean, we need a win. We need a win if we want to get to the playoffs. That is what we are trying to do. We are trying to get back on the field every day and try to do the best we can and get the win and play it game by game.”
On comfort level at plate from earlier in the season
“I feel really good at the plate right now. I came from the minor leagues and I was swinging the bat pretty good. I just have that confidence. Nothing has changed. I’m the same guy. Same approach, same routine. I was just patient at the plate. I was just waiting on my time.”
On manufacturing runs
“That is a big step. We were able to make a lot of runs after two shutouts in a row. I mean that is a good push for a team. We feel really good. Now, we have to take care of business on the road.”
On awareness of Braves’ offensive struggles before being called up
“Even when you are in Triple-A, you are still watching the big boys playing. You see their numbers. You see their numbers. You watch every single game. You follow them because you are in Triple-A and the next day, the next hour, you’ll be on big-league team. You have to be aware what’s going on here. Whenever you are here you have to do your best to help your team get the wins and being aware of what is going on around.”
“He was pretty solid today. He had a little struggle with a few pitches. He was not having big issues. He was missing just barely over the plate or barely outside the plate. He was great today. He battled through the sixth inning and we scored some runs and he got the win.”
How did you feel today out there?
“Battling the whole game but the good thing is we got a win.”
Was it tough to keep your focus on the hot day?
“It was a little bit difficult especially when we’ve got the 12 o’clock game. It’s a little hard because mentally you are not ready to wake up. But at the same time just battling and throw a lot of strikes.”
On the team scoring runs after a couple frustrating days of offense
“t was very frustrating but today we came out swinging and everything went our way today. We just have to keep it up and keep swinging.”
On walking a tightrope today and making big pitches to limit damage
“I am just not trying to do too much and keep the ball down for the most part and see how it is.”
On Christian Bethancourt behind the plate and getting hits
“He did a good job today especially when we needed big hits, he was just right on it. It was good for him.”
“It was a big win for us today to go out there and score some runs and hit the ball like I know we should. Ervin went out and pitched a great game.”
On gold spikes
“It was an idea that I had to raise awareness. I do a lot of work with a charity called Curing Kids’ Cancer. They raise money for research for pediatric cancer. September is the month and the color is gold to raise awareness. I decided to put those cleats together and wear them in a game and try to raise awareness. We are going to try to auction the cleats off and try to raise a little bit of money for the charity.
“I had the cleats made myself. It took a little bit of wheeling and dealing and ins and outs to get it done but we were able to get it done. I think they turned out great.”
On win going forward
“We didn’t hit the ball too well the last few games so to come out and score as many runs as we did today and going into the off day and headed out on a long road it’s going to be real important. We go to Miami first and then to Washington and that is going to be a big series for us. So, it gives us a little bit of momentum going into the off day and then going down to Miami and hopefully we can keep this thing rolling.”
On frustration of not getting to pitch as team struggled offensively
“I want to get in there every day because that means we have an opportunity to win every day. I know that is not going to happen because it never happens. Nobody throws 162 games. But here on out, I don’t think it really matters if it’s a save situation. I think any time we have a close ball game and the game is on the line, I like to get the ball and try to help this team win.”
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