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ALDS Game 1 postgame interview: Washington

Q. Can you talk a little bit about letting your hitters go green light on the 3 0 counts?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, you know that Price didn't want to end up walking those guys, so I took a chance on letting them hit 3 0. Each one of the guys that I did it to, that's the way you hit 3 0. They were able to get a ball up in the zone and they didn't miss it. You know, that was the turning point for us as far as scoring runs go.

Q. Can you talk about the acquisitions of Bengie Molina and Jeff Francoeur and what they did today especially?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, those are guys that have been through the wars before. We have a team of developing guys that put a lot together this year, and they just set the tone right away. You know, Bengie gets the double, Molina comes up and gets the base hit to right field. You know, that relaxed our guys a heck of a lot, and then we just continued to play the type of baseball we know we're capable of playing.

Q. How much do you think that foul tip on Pena turned the game if it would have been 3 1 instead of 2 2?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, it was a big pitch, but I don't know if it would have turned the game. When Cliff Lee is out there, he's so focused, if it ended up being a hit by pitch he would have done what he had to do to get out of that inning regardless. That was one play that was in our favor.

Q. Was there anything in particular going on in the first inning with Cliff that he wasn't in his groove?
RON WASHINGTON: No, there wasn't. You know, I mean, first game of the playoffs, there's a lot of energy going on out there. You know, it happened to Price in the first inning and it happened to Cliff in the first inning, but after that I think they both began to settle down. We took advantage of some opportunities and we cashed in, and Cliff limited the opportunities that they had. You know, I mean, tomorrow the energy level will be the same. We're in the playoffs right now, so even the best sometimes go out there and it takes them a while to find the feel.

Q. In the 9th do you think he was just nervous or uncomfortable and got rid of the jitters now?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, once again, nervous? No, I don't think the kid is nervous. He knows exactly what he's capable of doing. Once again, I just think it was anxiety, it was being over hyped, but he settled down. That was his first time out there, too. He's a young kid. He took over the closing role, and now he's closing a ballgame in a playoff situation. He definitely has the stuff. He finally settled down and he did what we needed him to go to get us to three outs. Next time he takes the ball, he'll probably be better.

Q. Are you aware that you broke a nine game playoff losing streak by the Rangers and you scored more runs today than the Rangers did in their last two playoff series?
RON WASHINGTON: No, I wasn't aware of that. The only thing I was aware of was that we were in some serious competition out there today. I have a pretty good ballclub, and we're going to fight. You know, I guess whatever happens from this point on will be history in Texas Rangers folklore. I'm just happy my guys were relaxed today and they were able to go out there and play the type of game that we know we can play, and today we got the win. So we'll just enjoy it and prepare for tomorrow.

Q. Just generally what does having Cliff Lee out there do for the team as the game goes on and he settles down? Do you get a sense of a change in the emotion of the team with him doing so well?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, no doubt about it, but you know, we put some runs on the board, too. That helped. That play that Elvis didn't make up the middle, you hit that ball 99 more times, he'll make it. There's still some outside energy working, but it definitely settled us down knowing that once we got ahead, we had Cliff out there, and then once we put some runs on the board he goes out there and goes one, two, three. That's what you like to see pitchers do. He did a great job of doing that. They worked him hard. He got through that seventh inning and then it made it easier for us to go to our bullpen.

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