After a week off, we finally played a baseball game, and it went great. We’ll take it. That was big. I don’t care if it’s Game 1 or Game 7, you have to find a way to win.
We struggled with execution tonight. The writers told me that we went something like 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position, but we got it done. That was because of Cole. He was fantastic. He’s done it the whole playoffs.
The key tonight was that we went out there and played the same. We showed up and were ourselves, and just tried to play the game. Chase hitting that home run dampened the crowd. He obviously wasn’t affected by the layoff. It doesn’t matter if he has a week off, a day off or no days off. He’s the best at his position for a reason.
A lot of people picked the Rays, and that may work in our favor. We like being the underdogs. It seems like we play our best when our backs are against the wall. Coming into a place like this — Tampa is so good at home — being able to take Game 1 is big. Boston took Game 1, too. It’s still a long series. We’re far from done. We’ll show up tomorrow and try and get Game 2.
Oh, and on my trying to score on that shallow fly ball. That was a miscommunication between Steve Smith and myself. I heard, ‘go.’ He said, ‘No.’ B.J. Upton made a great play and has got a great arm. I don’t know why I tried to test him there. But we got the win, and that’s all it’s about. We were able to overcome some things tonight and pull out a win.
We’ll take it.