JOE TORRE: Well, it was a decision I felt I had to make. Certainly it wasn't popular and the last thing I wanted to do was go get him and I understand that.
He left a couple of pitches up, and even before we went out in the top half of that inning, I had both Gordon and Leiter up, so we were going one man at a time and if somebody got on, we were going to come in with the appropriate pitcher and Leiter did a great job for us.
Was there a sense that most of the night, the way you were struggling getting reads, you just wanted to get the ball to Mariano and is he available tomorrow?
TORRE: Yeah, he's available. He was going to get the ball even if we were down by a run, so he was going to get the two innings.
To get the lead was such a bonus for us at that point in time, because this ballclub is not easy to score against. I know that there have been some questions about guys not hitting but you have to give credit to their pitching. They match up really well, now, from the sixth inning on, now that that they have Shields in that spot, they have two set up men that you really have to work at it and we made the most out of what we did in that inning where we got the lead.
Things just sort of worked for you tonight managerial wise, bringing in Leiter and then Sierra pinch hit but was it after Bernie's fly out, was it then that you told him to go get his glove that he might be taking the field?
TORRE: I didn't say might. I said, Ruben makes the last out here, you're going to go to centerfield because the last thing I wanted to do I didn't want to put Ruben out there. I didn't want to put Tony and it wasn't fair to Tony, he had not played in a couple of months to put him out there.
Yeah, Bernie, when I said if Ruben makes the last out you're going to play centerfield and he came back and said to me, what if he doesn't make the last out? I said, well, you're still going to play centerfield.
Yeah, that's what I told him.
I don't know how much attention you've paid to the other series, but did you get wind of the 18-inning game?
TORRE: Yeah, well, we had nothing to do here but watch it. It was one of those games that you could see everybody trying to hit a home run and somebody finally succeeded.
You know, you could feel for Bobby Cox. You get in that situation when you have a lead like that and you have the people out on the mound and it didn't work, and you scratch your head sometimes. I'm a firm believer that things have a reason for happening, I guess. You can't quite figure it out when they do happen sometimes.
Was Roger pitching the 16th, 17th, 18th?
TORRE: I guess he was pitching until his tongue hung out. I guess Andy was in Atlanta, so he was in for it.
I tell you, I was happy for Roger, because you know, to be able to do that, and you know he's not 100%, but he does it on courage. There's no question about it.
You've obviously put a lot of seasons in Mariano's hands; can you describe what that level of belief in him is like in that situation?
TORRE: Well, you stop managing at that point in time. Here it is. You know, if it works, it works. If it doesn't they are tough hitters that he has to face, especially in that ninth inning where Figgins and Cabrera has been very hot and I don't have to say anything about Guerrero.
Yeah, I trust him so much, because I know one thing, above anything else, whether it works or not, you know that he's going out there with the biggest heart in the world. He certainly doesn't shy away from the pressure.
Shawn pitched very well going down the stretch; what was it like to see him do that in the playoffs?
TORRE: It was great. Again a little reminiscent of when El Duque pitched in '98 with about two weeks rest, because I don't know exactly. They are both the same type of pitcher where they really base their success on feel. When he started hitting his spots early, I was really pleased.
But he's cool. He's having a good time. He just really told people a lot more with this last start than we learned since he came over from Colorado.
Obviously we needed every bit of it, and, you know, now we can reunite with Moose again because we haven't seen him in about five days, but we'll get to see him again tomorrow.
What did you see on the Posada play at the plate?
TORRE: Well, I didn't think Marquez hesitated at all. It looked like Jorge was in there. When I say he was in there, it looked like he got to where he needed to be before he was tagged.
I couldn't see if they blocked the plate, that's the only thing we can't see, we're a little flat to see that. But I thought he got to where he needed to get when the tag was applied, whether it was on the base or not, I couldn't tell.
On that play, it looked like, did you think the ball was spinning a little bit and made it a tougher play for Figgins?
TORRE: Well, I don't think there's any question. You get, especially the spin that Shields puts on the ball, as you see Jeter had a tough time fouling the ball off his foot the one time, but yeah, I'm sure that it may not have been as clean an exchange as he would have liked.
In retrospect now, how happy are you with your decision to leave Mussina out there and how comfortable with the season on the line, the ball in his hands?
TORRE: I'm just glad Mel came to me with it after we lost that game. You're down, we had a chance to go up two, we had a lead in the game and Mel, like he always does, he thinks clear. Now that we've got Moose on the bus on the way to the airport and it was sort of in the back of his mind.
Yeah, I'm pleased. Even though the fact that this was his fifth day, it's not going to hurt him to have the extra day.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.