To hit a home run in my first at-bat of my first playoff start was definitely a huge adrenaline rush. I was worried it was going to hit off the wall, so I started sprinting around first base and then I saw it go out. For me, it was just an unbelievable feeling. It’s something I’ll always remember for the rest of my life. For my first hit in the playoffs to be a home run is an unbelievable thing.
Just to get ahead in the ballgame was the biggest thing, knowing that we got a run for Josh Beckett. Lo and behold, it wound up being enough to win the game, although we did end up winning, 4-0.
To be honest, the day leading up to the game felt like a normal day. I did everything like I normally do. I tried to take a nap for like 20 minutes or so at home. I was on the same schedule and I didn’t feel really that nervous.
Once the game started and all the craziness, I felt a little bit of nerves, but for the most part, I felt pretty calm. For me, it caught me off-guard. Usually, I get so amped up. I felt pretty calm and just played it like a normal game, and it’s probably just due to the postseasons I’ve watched for so many years, especially when I was on our bench in 2004 and 2005. I think that helped out a lot.
As far as the home run I hit, it was on a 2-1 fastball. I was just trying to put a good swing on it and not try to do too much, and that’s when you hit the ball the best sometimes, when you try no to do too much and just try to hit the ball solid. I got a good part of the wood on it and it traveled over the fence. It’s not easy hitting them out to left-center sometimes. It was just great — a great feeling overall.
It was a good way to start, but I told myself, "Hey, don’t try to do too much. Stay with your approach and get on top of the ball." Sometimes when you hit a home run in your first at-bat, you think you can hit a home run every time. So for me, I just need to stay on top of the ball, and my next at-bat, I got a curveball that was over the plate and I put a good swing on it and I got a double.
The big story tonight was Josh. It was unbelievable just to watch him out there. You never knew when we were going to take him out or if we wouldn’t. And we didn’t. It just shows you how great Josh is, and for me, it doesn’t surprise me any time he pitches like that.
Someone asked me, "Do you think he can throw a no-hitter?" I was like, "Yeah, there’s a good chance he might be able to." It’s unbelievable how good he is. You just have to tip your cap to what a great game he pitched. We’re excited to have him. Hopefully we don’t have to see him again this series.
But we’re not going to get too high over this one win. For us, it’s just a matter of enjoying it, but also waking up tomorrow and saying, "Hey, we have work to do and we still have a bunch more games to play."
We have Game 2 Friday night; we have to be ready for that. That’s a big game for us. If we win that game, it sets us up for just having to win one out of three games. For us, coming out in Game 2 and trying not to look past that is the biggest thing for us.
We’ll be facing Kelvim Escobar. He’s a great pitcher — you just have to lay off some of his splitties and make him work. I think for us, the key is trying to make him work and get good pitches that are in our zone and take advantage of some mistakes. If he can make mistakes, that’s the key to getting to Escobar.
Dice-K Matsuzaka gets the ball for us. We have confidence in Dice-K and all of our pitchers every time they go out. For us, we’re just excited to have our pitchers go out there and pitch. If our pitchers pitch well, we’ll go a long way. We’ll throw any of our guys out there.
That’s all for tonight. Talk to you all again after Game 2.