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Flaherty Q&A: Moose 'came up huge'

Flaherty Q&A: Moose 'came up huge'

ANAHEIM -- The Yankees defeated the Angels, 4-2, on Tuesday night to take Game 1 of the American League Division Series at Angel Stadium.

Mike Mussina tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings, backed by Robinson Cano's three-run double in the first inning, which provided all of the run support that Mussina would need.

Yankees catcher John Flaherty, who will catch Randy Johnson in Game 3 at Yankee Stadium, will provide game-by-game analysis for MLB.com throughout the postseason.

Flaherty spoke with MLB.com's Mark Feinsand following the win, discussing Mussina, Cano, the importance of winning on the road and what to expect in Game 2.

MLB.com: How important was it for you to get the win in Game 1 and start the series off on the right foot?

Flaherty: We set a nice tone, but more importantly, Moose going out there and giving us six innings was huge. After having a tough time in his last start, we weren't sure what we were going to get. He came up big.

MLB.com: Given Mussina's recent issues, was there any nervousness in the dugout in the first or second innings, waiting to see which Mussina was going to show up?

Flaherty: I wouldn't say it's nervousness; we were just interested to see what kind of stuff he had. They said he warmed up well, so we felt good going in, but it's a nice luxury to have a guy like Aaron Small behind him in the bullpen. If it doesn't look like it's working out early, you can bring him in and feel good about it. As it turned out, we didn't need him.

MLB.com: Cano hits a huge, three-run double to give you a lead in the first in his first career postseason at-bat. How impressive has this rookie been?

Flaherty: It was impressive. To be able to string together some at-bats like we did with two outs, a guy like Robbie, we all know in this clubhouse that he's not going to be nervous. His personality is so loose, you always feel like he's going to give you a big at-bat.

MLB.com: As you mentioned, all four of your runs tonight came with two outs. What does that say about your team?

Flaherty: We've been battling for a month and a half now, and it tells the pitcher that he's going to have to work all the way through the inning in order to get through it. Colon threw a great game; he had great stuff, pounded the strike zone and it didn't look good early. To string together some good, two-out at-bats and push some runs across, that was huge.

MLB.com: There was a lot of talk over the past two days about the Yankees not having the home-field advantage in this series and having to fly to the West Coast. Does this win erase all of that talk?

Flaherty: I don't think we were concerned about it at all. We obviously love playing at Yankee Stadium, but we've had to win every day over the past two months, no matter where we were playing. Whether it's pitching, defense, big hitting, whatever we've had to do, we've been doing whatever we've had to do in order to win. We weren't that concerned about it, but we're happy to get the first one.

MLB.com: What do you expect out of Chien-Ming Wang in Game 2?

Flaherty: When he's got his good sinker working, it's tough to string hits together against him. He walked six in his last start in Boston, so you don't expect that to happen again. We felt if we could get a good game from Moose, we'd feel great with Wang on the mound. Hopefully he'll pitch well and we can head back to New York on top.

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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