Tonight was great. I didn?t start feeling it until the pregame introductions and seeing them calling the Yankee lineup. It was amazing seeing all those guys I used to watch as a fan in college. That was pretty much the same lineup I watched in the last four or five playoffs. And the crowd? you could just feel the excitement in the air.
I came up in my first at-bat with two guys on and two out. I was so bad all year with guys in scoring position and two outs. It was nice to wipe the slate clean and trade in all the times I got out in the regular season for one postseason RBI with two outs. It was great, in that sense.
I had never faced Chien-Ming Wang, so it was a weird spot. I always hit fifth, and I?m always hoping if I come up in the first inning that there?s going to be guys on base. That was a great spot to come through in, because it changes the momentum. If Wang gets me out there, he goes back to the dugout and it?s still 1-0. Two-out hits are golden. They?re the best kind of RBIs you can get.
On the solo home run in the eighth, I was behind in the count, 0-2. I was in battle mode. Phil Hughes has got a great fastball. I was just choking up and trying to put something in play. I was fortunate to get a fastball. It was down the middle. That was so exciting to get a home run on only my fifth at-bat in the postseason.
The win was great, but this is just Game 1. We can?t lose sight of it being a five-game series, not a one-game series. We need to keep playing hard. Early on, they got up early, and we?ve struggled against the Yankees all year, and it was kind of like, ?Oh man, here we go.? But one thing Eric [Wedge] has talked about all year is separating. If you?re up five, you can get up eight. If you?re up eight, you can get up nine or 10. You have to put people away. That?s what he?s said from day one, and that?s what we did tonight.
The thing we talked about the last three days in the workouts was to enjoy this. Instead of putting pressure on ourselves, we want to go out and have fun. This is what we worked for — as individuals and as a team — for all our lives. The last thing we want to do is go out there and be tight and try too hard and squeeze the bat too hard and all that stuff. Tonight, we just got in the box and we were just let everything go. You saw that with the home runs. We were letting it go. We were trying to get out there and do something with the opportunity. Because who knows if we?ll ever have another one like this?