JOE TORRE: Well, that was huge for us. You get in the postseason, you're playing good teams. Even during the course of the season, when you're not playing this caliber of team, you still don't like to give extra outs. When you give extra outs, chances are they're going to be capitalized on, and that's what we were able to do tonight. I thought Furcal was a huge at bat with the bunt, and that was strictly on his own. And I think Russell has been swinging the bat really well, and I think that was basically the back breaker, the three run double.
How much did the bullpen trouble in the ninth was having a 10-1 lead, and what could you see from Saito?
JOE TORRE: Well, Saito was fine tonight. I checked with Kenny Howell, our bullpen coach, and he said his breaking ball was sharp. It just looked like his breaking ball was a little lazy out there. He didn't have any physical problems. I talked to him after the game. But I think part of it could be maybe it was the 10-1 lead, and he's just trying to throw strikes, and all of a sudden, bang, bang, and now you're trying to gather yourself again. Hopefully that's it.
Just the way he's been gradually getting better, I really don't think it was anything physical.
I know a lot was made of this coming in, but given what this team has been over the last couple of months, to what extent do you think you guys are kind of showing the gap between these two teams is a whole lot closer than the 12 or 13 games or whatever it was in the standings?
JOE TORRE: Well, the Cubs, I mentioned here the last couple days, them and the Angels and Tampa Bay are the three clubs that really went from gate to wire.
Our games, I know they beat us three games here. Two of those games we had leads late in the game. I felt that we played these guys -- I don't want to say even. At the time we played them they were the better team, and they may be a better team right now, but we're playing with a lot of confidence right now.
You know, to me, we beat them two out of four at our place. It comes down to pitching. We didn't pitch well late in those games here, but we seemed to -- aside from Dempster. Dempster had his way with us and I think Marquis had his way with us in LA, but we've gained a lot of patience since then, and we're a different ballclub.
What made Billingsley so effective tonight?
JOE TORRE: Well, I was very impressed with Chad. Normally it takes him a couple innings just to get his feet on the ground because he tends to go out there and try to overthrow the ball. And after Sori got the base hit and got to second base, he just looked like everything slowed down for him. And striking out Theriot I'm sure helped his confidence and certainly made me feel good just about his command at that point in time.
And then he just went out there and did what he's done for us so many times this year. He goes out there and controls the game.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.