Oct. 7 Joe Girardi postgame interview

Q. Talk a little bit about the finish.  Quite a finish for such a tight game and the way you all broke it open in the last inning.

JOE GIRARDI:  Yeah, it was a really good game.  A well‑pitched game on both sides, and we were fortunate enough to get to a very, very good closer tonight.  Our guys put some good at‑bats on him, but it was an outstanding game.

Q.  After watching Sabathia struggle for a little bit and then watching him do what he did the last few starts, what did you think of the performance he gave you tonight?

JOE GIRARDI:  I thought he gave us a great performance.  Didn't give up a lot of hard‑hit balls tonight, had a really good changeup tonight, and I thought he used it very effectively.  His command was good, his pitch count was down.  You can look at those four performances he's put in in a row, and that one is as good as any of them.

Q.  What does this do for your bullpen, getting the rest and having CC go as deep as he went?

JOE GIRARDI:  I mean, any time you can give your bullpen a rest, it helps.  But we had had three days off, so it wasn't necessary to do it.  But he was throwing the ball so well, I continued to stay with him.  It allows us to use our bullpen a lot tomorrow, though.

Q.  It looked like CC was going a lot changeup and slider tonight.  Is that in the game plan or is that an adjustment that Russell made during the game, and how big an impact, besides the home run, that Russell ‑‑ it looked like he really shepherded CC through that game.

JOE GIRARDI:  Well, that's always in his game plan.  His changeup has always been a big pitch for him, and it was something that he struggled with when he was struggling, but he's got it going again, so they used it very, very effectively.  I thought they worked well together, they had a plan together, and they executed it.  I give them both a lot of credit.

Q.  After CC gave up the lead‑off double in the eighth inning, how close were you to making a move and what was the thinking to stay with him there?

JOE GIRARDI:  I said it was his game.  I wasn't going to make a move.  It was his game to either win or lose, and that's exactly what he did.  He went out and won the game for us.

Q.  Hardy hits that double, the game is begging for a turning point there, and he's got that go‑ahead run behind him and then to bear down and get the next three hitters in that setting, is that basically just what he does?

JOE GIRARDI:  That's why we have so much belief in him because we know that he is capable of doing that.  You are looking at two guys, three guys that have given us a lot of trouble this year and he went and got them out and made some real quality pitches.

Q.  You've seen Jim Johnson a number of times.  Your assessment of how he pitched tonight.

JOE GIRARDI:  Well, he's pitched well all year.  I mean, every once in a while a closer is going to have a situation where they're not lights‑out.  But you look at the job that he's done, it's been truly impressive.

Q.  This was the first time two teams in the same division played in the Division Series, and it was obviously a terrific game.  Does it make any difference or is this a good idea?

JOE GIRARDI:  I think it is.  I've wondered for a long time if a wild card team is in its division and the No. 1 seed in a sense is the division winner, why they don't play.  I've always wondered that.

Q.  Russell's third game winning home run in the ninth inning or later, is there anything in particular about him that allows him to relax in those situations?

JOE GIRARDI:  You know, we've always thought he's a very good hitter, and we saw him get off to a really tough start, and he has really turned it around.  He was huge in the month of September for us.  Huge hit tonight.  He's got a lot of power.  He packs a lot of power.  And he's capable of doing it.

Q.  And secondly, three guys were looking at coming off a bad playoff last year, Teixeira, Swisher, A‑Rod.  I was wondering what you saw out of them tonight.

JOE GIRARDI:  Good at‑bats.  You look at Swish was on all but one time, I think, tonight.  Tex was on all but one or two times tonight.  Alex took a walk.  I thought the at‑bats were good.