We were down 3 0, and we had been having problems scoring runs. With that bunt we were trying to score one or two so we could get back in the game.
Q. That eighth inning, was it more a question of the mistakes that Italy was making or the pressure that you guys were putting on them by your base running?
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: I think it was both. I think we were putting pressure on the guys. Our runners were running 100 percent, and that's the way to go. I mean, you put pressure on the defense. I mean, the breaks went our way today. Yesterday was another story, but today we got all the breaks and we took advantage of that.
Q. It was 3 0 and it got to 3 1. It seemed that things didn't look good. Give me the description of the mental process of the mood, what happened in the dugout. Even on television it seemed at that moment in the game when you were so close to stay out of the tournament, to be left out of the tournament.
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: (From Spanish) the game was 3 1 in the eighth and we had the middle of the lineup opening up. We know how the game would be defined. Carlos Beltran knew that he had to get to base. That was a key. I think if Carlos Beltran had not reached a base, maybe history would have been different. But before that inning, Beltran was aware and the team that Carlos Beltran needed to get to base. That was the key, and we had already talked about it when we were serving.
HIRAM BURGOS: (From Spanish) in that situation we have to have faith and stay as a team, and the batters did the work that they had to do. It was to put the ball in the game, not to do more than you can, put the ball in the game, and we took advantage. And each inning Edwin told me stay in the game, stay in the game, and that's the work I did. I tried to keep it in the game, give a chance to the team to win the game.
Q. Talk about the relief to do it and the urgency in that eighth inning with so much on the line. What was that like?
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: It was like he was trying very hard to keep us in the game. And with the lineup that we have, it's a matter of time that we start scoring runs. But they made the adjustment late in the game where we just had to put the ball and make things happen, instead we're looking for a three run home run. In the bottom of the eighth, when Carlos Beltran led off that inning, that was the key.
Of course, everybody was kind of putting a little bit of pressure on themselves, so the staff has to fake it and try to make it look like we're all calm, everything under control. But I think we did a good job doing that, but the guys went out there and they made it happen.
Q. What does it say for the tournament and your team to see the guys spilling out of the dugout when you get that go ahead run?
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: Well, there's a lot of emotions when you're playing for your nation, regardless if it's Puerto Rico, USA or Dominican. There's a lot of emotion. I think it's more that we all know that everybody is watching back home, and when those things happen we're already thinking about what they're doing back home. They're jumping, they're yelling, they're making noise, and you know that we can make noise. And I think pretty much everybody had that in mind.
Q. Hiram and Yadier, from the emotional point of view, Hiram, you had already participated or had the starting role in another game like this one.
HIRAM BURGOS: (From Spanish) not really. I am, as we say, a newbie in this. Baseball is the same. Emotions don't matter. It doesn't matter whether there are 40,000 or 100. But you have to focus and to execute your pitching when you are there. You have some of the best catchers in the baseball league, so you have to trust, and mostly also to trust my pitching and depend on my defense to make the play. But you have to keep focusing, and that was the key.
Q. You have won a World Series. How do you compare the emotions of winning a World Series and what you have gone through as a team, especially overcoming the problem at the beginning?
YADIER MOLINA: (From Spanish) that's how you win the World Series, by playing as a team, pitching as a team, playing defense as a team. That's what we did today, and that's the way we have played in Puerto Rico the first round. And yesterday it was a bad loss, but then we got one back and we showed what we can give, and thank God we came out victorious.
Q. Edwin, not to be a party pooper, but you must be thinking of that game on Friday, the two rivals against whom you already lost to in this tournament. Could you tell us about your focus and how it changes?
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: (From Spanish) no, I don't think you are a party pooper. We are going to keep the same philosophy that we started with in Fort Myers in the first practice. In defeat or victory, we are going to turn the page and get ready for the next game and we are already doing so. We are already preparing our possible lineup, our possible bullpen that Nelson Figueroa will start the game. So we are already ready for anyone, for the United States or the Dominican Republic. The advantage is we already played them, so we see their weaknesses and their strengths. And we have Nelson Figueroa, and he's in very good shape.
Q. Edwin, I imagine that you must have seen the offense of Puerto Rico with a bit of concern. The team has not batted in key situations. Is that what you feel?
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: (From Spanish) yes, my concern lies in that they start to put pressure on themselves to do more. It's not a concern that they won't bat. The concern is just like, as I said, that they put pressure on themselves. But we already saw today, they are making adjustment. Alexis Rios, Yadier Molina, Carlos Beltran, Mike Aviles, they are making an adjustment on the offense. We are playing in a big park. The park talks to us, and we have to listen what it tells us, to go gap by gap and not look for that home run and those three runs. It doesn't concern me, but I think that the guys are getting into shape and that the strategy is working out.
Q. Edwin, talking about Alexis, he was left in sixth place, and that was important, that play. Alexis and the next player, was it important to win this way, coming from behind?
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: (From Spanish) that's very big. That's a good question. This victory is very big. The way in which they made the adjustment in that inning, because that way they can keep the same approach, that attack for the same game and the confidence, obviously it improves when what they see and what they do is working, that they were part of the offense, and coming from behind in the eighth inning. So the self confidence improves not only individually but as a team, as well.
Q. Taking into account the characteristics of the Puerto Rican team, which rival would you prefer, United States or the Dominican Republic?
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: (From Spanish) personally I haven't talked to the coaches or the players, but either of the two, makes no difference. Both have very powerful lineups. They are both balanced. They both have good pitchers. It really makes no difference which of the two we play.
Q. Due to the big performance of Burgos, first, why did you not use him earlier in the game? He was going to be the main relief for Giancarlo Alvarado. So given the little work that was done today, will Burgos be the main one on Friday?
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: (From Spanish) it depends on the strategy. Given the nature of the tournament, Hiram Burgos has always been the starter and has been the relief and part of the strategy that you cannot bring bring out the middle of the inning. He's already prepared as a starter. So if Giancarlo gets into trouble in that inning, we have to close that inning and then Hiram Burgos gets put in. We'll keep that true as a strategy. Remember, we have to prepare these players for their regular seasons. So Hiram Burgos, especially with the pitching today, he needs all four days of rest to come back.
Q. You had a big offensive night. Tell me about the focus you had at the batting cage and whether that focus was contagious for the rest of the players.
YADIER MOLINA: (From Spanish) indeed, yes. My preparation for each game, I prepared myself very well. What you don't know is that we are in March, especially when you are facing pitchers that are going to pitch 95 or 96. But when you see it on a daily basis, you make the adjustments. I did a bit of adjustments, and I looked for my hits, and it seems that the team also, you know, followed me.
We were able to play. You have to give credit to the Italian team because they have one heck of a team. But what we came with the work of Hiram, of Giancarlo, of the boys, so we are able to win, and we hope that on Friday it will be the same thing.