Q. Joe, you played better defense, you walked, you got timely hits. Did that look a little more like the Rays to you?JOE MADDON: You mean, when I was screaming in the dugout about the seventh inning? Yeah. And it all set up by Matt Garza. Pitching the way he it permitted that to happen. Without Garza pitching the way he did, it doesn't happen. That's the way we have been all year, very good starting pitching. Defense and the timely hits shows up. It finally did show up tonight. I am really proud of the way our guys didn't really cave in. A lot of stuff, hit a couple of balls well at 'em. The "at 'em" ball is part of our offense, hopefully it will change from now on. More than anything to be in that kind of game down like we were and to come back against that bullpen like we did is pretty good stuff.
Postgame interview with Crawford and Pena
Q. Carlos, you had your struggles in September, a lot of us knew that but that could have been your last at bat for the Rays. Talk about how about the last at bats and how big they were.
CARLOS PEÑA: We knew that coming into today, we're facing elimination. And at the same time, we were trying to come out loose and personally I was trying to do the same, just basically living in the present and not thinking too far ahead.
And I think sometimes we have a tendency to try to take on too much and it's just not conducive to success. So kind of get all that stuff off our backs and just come out and be ourselves. Come out and be myself and do the best I can to help the ballclub win. I am just so happy to contribute.
Q. C.C., Joe talked about things being contagious, not just with bats, but the glove as well. Talk about Zobrist and J.B. at short and your catches and how the defense came back tonight.
CARL CRAWFORD: That is the strength of our ballclub, defense. We play defense and that's what we have been doing all year. The bats are struggling, that's the one thing you tell yourself to do, try to play defense every day. And we did a good job of it tonight.
Q. Carlos, how tough is it to block out the fact that you guys are five outs or so away from elimination and you are up there against Oliver? That was difficult to stay in that presence knowing were you so close?
CARLOS PEÑA: It is extremely difficult. Obviously we know we are facing Oliver and he has been outstanding during the regular season and throughout his career. And he has pitched for a long time and he has done an unbelievable job and we all knew that. But it's one of those things that in sports you get to experience those moments where maybe your back is against the wall and everything seems to be going against you, and all the odds are against you and it's just, you know, you make this pause and all of a sudden you are able to focus on the task at hand. And I think the ballclub was able to do that today. And when we do that, stay in the present, that is extremely powerful because obviously your talent can express itself freely and obviously that's exactly what happened today, not only with the guys swinging the bats, but Garza on the mound. I mean, this is what we dreamed of often when we were younger. Here we are he living our dreams. We don't want to ever forget that.
Q. Carlos, in the fourth you just missed the 3 1 pitch. Did that at bat tell you something that you were able to carry into the final at bats the rest of the game?
CARLOS PEÑA: I felt really good on that swing. In fact when I hit it, I thought it might have had a chance and it just hung up there and never really materialized into what I wanted it to be, which was a three run homer. It felt good on that swing and basically told myself stay right there, don't let it discourage you, just keep it coming and believe, and thankfully good things happen.
Q. Carl, when you guys finally started hitting, getting some things to drop in the eighth inning, was there a feeling of relief, finally here we are?
CARL CRAWFORD: It definitely was. We kept telling ourselves to keep running out, keep running out, stay positive. We definitely didn't want that to be our last game. We started hitting and it felt better. And you can tell the guys started putting together better ABs and it happened. And hopefully we can come out and play like that tomorrow.
Q. Carlos, first can you talk about the pitch you hit for the single, the pitch you hit for the homer. And Carl, your thoughts on that, too.
CARL CRAWFORD: I hit a fastball I think 3 2. Right there I fought off a few pitches and was finally able to catch up with them. I thought mine was a fastball.
CARLOS PEÑA: The two pitches I had were fastballs, also. These guys throw hard, you know. And I mean really, really hard, to the point where sometimes it just even fools your eyes. When when you think you are on it, you're late. And they couple it with some pretty good off speed stuff. These guys have a great pitching staff. For us to be able to get some runs across home plate, you know, it means the world to us. It's actually fun when you're able to score a run, support the great pitching performance that we got from Garza today. An all around great ballgame for us and we live to see another day.
Q. Carl, describe your feelings right now in trying to balance a little bit of relief with trying to conjure up that hunger again tomorrow because you're far from out of this?
CARL CRAWFORD: Right now I am just happy we won. I was so nervous hoping that we didn't get swept. That was the main thing, just don't get swept. We got so close, just to get out of that, it feels so much better. I almost feels like it feels like we winning the series right now. So we are definitely going to come and play our style and try to play aggressive tomorrow and try to tie things back up. But we definitely feel good about ourselves right now.
Q. For either of you, whoever wants to answer: You guys had a tough time in '08 closing out the Red Sox. Can you talk about the position the team gets in when they are that one win away from closing out a postseason series? You guys experienced it and you were able to win a couple. Rangers had a chance to close it out, is it a tough spot to be in?
CARL CRAWFORD: I remember that's a real tough spot to be in, it is like it is right there and then you have to do so much, so you kind of have to find a way to relax and still, you know, do things that you normally do without tensing up so much. So, you know, it is like that last game is definitely the hardest game to win because you just want it so bad and you are not doing things you normally do.
THE MODERATOR: Do you have anything to add, Carlos?
CARLOS PEÑA: I think that was very good. (Laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Thank you both very much.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.