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10/05/08 9:32 PM ET

Danks, Pierzynski postgame interview

Team has to win two more games and it starts tomorrow

John, were there any sort of nerves going on in the game and how did you kind of get rid of them. Was it just kind of in the flow of the game or did you kind of have to take a moment and gather yourself?

JOHN DANKS: I was more nervous going into the Minnesota game last week than I was this game. Obviously the same things were on the line and it was the same kind of game. But definitely just trying to stay within myself and A.J. did a good job of keeping me under control. And, you know, I mean, it worked out all right I guess.

John, is there anything you guys saw on tape when you were breaking down this team to approach the batters differently than the other pitchers in Tampa?

JOHN DANKS: I didn't look at any tape. This is my third time to face them this year or fourth time. I felt like we knew them all right. And, I mean, I don't think I shook A.J. off once today. So I just went with him and he did a great job back there.

A.J. PIERZYNSKI: I didn't watch any tape. I never do. I've been in trouble for that before.

A.J., Garza was throwing pretty hard. And the second time through the line up you guys got to him. Did it take one time through to get use to it? Why did you guys get to him do you think?

A.J. PIERZYNSKI: He started making mistakes. His ball was really moving tonight. He was throwing 95, 96 miles an hour. The first time up I know myself he threw me a couple pitches that I thought were good pitches to hit but they kind of moved off the plate and he got me to pop up. Then my second at bat when I got him, when DeWayne got to second the only thing was stay up the middle and he hung me a slider, curveball, whatever it was and I hit it up the middle.

Garza's good. You look at the Twins you're like wow. But they got good guys for him. But he is really good. He's tough. Lucky for us he made a couple mistakes and we were able to hit them. Wise with the big hit. Jim with a bullet to get us going after we tied the score. The right guys up at the right time and guys had good at bats.

The first time through the line up I don't think he threw one breaking ball. We went up there the second time and said let's get on the fastball and get a good one to whack and luckily we didn't miss it too many times.

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John, how big was it for you to get the shutdown inning after your guys scored the runs for you? I think you only used ten pitches in retiring the side. Is that something you believe in as far as a shutdown the inning after your team gets runs.

JOHN DANKS: It's always my goal after we score. Go out there and try to make it as quick inning as possible and get us back in the dugout.

Fortunately I was able to make pitches and get us out of there. We saw what happened.

Once we got back in there we started hitting the ball again. I think it helps. It think it helps our team get on a little roll. And we put up enough runs today to win.

A.J. PIERZYNSKI: I think that was your best inning.

JOHN DANKS: Without a doubt.

A.J. PIERZYNSKI: You didn't go 3-0 on anybody.

A.J., can you talk about John's development as a big game pitcher especially in this last week?

A.J. PIERZYNSKI: Well I was ridiculing him a little earlier in the year in the Minnesota series that he asked out of the game in the Metrodome because he was scared of the loud crowd noise. So I take it all back, John. You've been great these last couple games when we've been at home. But you see him grow every time the out. It was amazing. I remember his first start of the year in Cleveland against the Indians, a team that everyone picked to be really good after the great season they had, and he went out there and dominated them his first time out. You could see just the difference in his mentality the difference in his stuff. I've never seen one guy grow so much from one year to the next.

Basically he picked up a cutter and it's made a world of difference. His other stuff is really good and that cutter just gets him off the fastball just enough to where it makes him just that much more effective.

One win obviously but are you a believing in turning the momentum your way now?

A.J. PIERZYNSKI: Tom Kelly used to say all the time momentum is only as good as your next day's starting pitcher. We have Gavin Floyd tomorrow hopefully he goes out and shuts them down early and we can jump on Sonnanstine. At the same time they're going to want to finish this off. They played with great energy today and we got to play with great energy tomorrow. Our crowd will help.

Momentum is a day to day thing in baseball. It's not like hockey, basketball, football. Baseball changes pitch by pitch, inning by inning. The bottom line is you have to find a way to win every inning.

John, was there an adjustment after the first couple innings? Did you have to make any changes or just keep going with what you were doing.

JOHN DANKS: I felt like I was trying to keep doing what I was doing. The only change I made was trying to do too much in the seventh. Felt like I was losing some stuff, I was getting a little tired, was trying to throw too hard and make too good of a pitch rather than just stay within myself and doing that, which got me in trouble. Left the ball up to Upton and he didn't miss it. And, you know, couple walks there.

But other than that there wasn't any other?

That was kind of a follow up. What happened in the sixth inning when you walked Longoria then went 2-0 on Crawford then Ozzie came out and talked to you a little bit. Then you settled down and got out of the inning?

JOHN DANKS: Ozzie just told me the only way I'm going to get beat is by putting guys on base and not being aggressive. He just basically just said throw strikes, you know. And fortunately I was able to turn it around, calm down a little bit, and threw some strikes. Got some big outs in there.

Either one of you, what is it about this team and must-win games? You had the three last week where a loss would have ended your season. Tonight the same story. Is there a difference?

A.J. PIERZYNSKI: Maybe we don't like our wives and don't want to go home. (Laughter.) Just kidding. I love you, honey.

This team has been the most resilient team I've ever been around in my career as far as stuff like that. I've never seen a team in big games act as normal and as unflappable as this team has been.

Everything's the same. No one changed anything. That's a good sign. Obviously we have to win two more games and it starts with tomorrow. But this team has been amazing. They just don't change. No one changes whether it's the game one or game 180. Everything is the same. Our pitching staff from Coop to Ozzie to the 25th guy on the roster everyone is the same. Everyone is having fun. That's all you can ask for in this situation is to try to make it as normal as possible and see what happens.

JOHN DANKS: You know, it almost feels like guys are just happy being here, you know, because there is no pressure on anyone. No one's acting like, you know, this is do or die, and guys are still playing cards up to 30 minutes before the game and laughing and having a good time. We had the football on before the game. And, you know, A.J. hit it right on the head, guys really just try to approach it like it's a game in June, you know.

I think that helps take the pressure off of us a little bit.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.
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