Jake did a great job of pounding the zone tonight. The thing we all noticed is that we weren?t in the field as long, like we were during those two games in Boston, where every count was deep. Jake wasn?t running counts, and that makes a difference as an infielder. It gets overlooked, but offensively and defensively, you?re so much more into the game when every count isn?t extra long. So he really did a good job. He really picked us up.
I thought Dice-K?s stuff was better tonight than it was during the season. He ran a couple up there at 95 and 96 mph. He didn?t do that during the year. But obviously, Kenny got that hit, and that was big. He?s been talking about his power. He finally showed it tonight That was just another clutch play out of him. He?s been clutch all postseason.
I forgot how loud it gets here at Jacobs Field. Once again, our fans were just as loud here as the fans at Yankee Stadium and a lot louder than Fenway Park. They?re into the game, and they?re great fans. You can?t say enough about them. Every time somebody gets two strikes, they?re into it. Every time we get someone on base, they?re into it. It?s a lot of fun to play in that environment.
People talked about the momentum carrying over from Saturday?s win, but the biggest momentum tonight was Jake getting ground balls when we needed them. That?s the only momentum you can feel as a player. I made that error in the second, and when he got out of that jam, there was nobody happier in the stadium than me. That?s what we?ve been doing all year is picking each other up, and he really picked me up right there. I told him I?d go out and try to get a hit and score a run for him to make up for the error. It ended up working out later that inning, when I got the hit and Kenny hit that homer.
Tuesday?s game is really important. The fourth and fifth games of seven-game series, to me, are always the important ones. At least, as a fan, it seems that way. I?ve never been in one before. But when you?re watching a team and rooting for a team, those are usually the games that matter the most.
We kept the home-field advantage tonight. It was big to win this first one at home — to keep everyone excited and to keep our focus on winning the next one.
My cousin, ?Big Body? Erb, texted me today. He?s back in North Carolina now. He was probably out somewhere watching this game tonight. He?s bugging me about getting him a signed bat to put up in his room, but he?s going to have to wait until after the season. I don?t remember him asking me for a signed bat when I was in Buffalo.