Oct. 21 Bruce Bochy postgame interview

Oct. 21 Bruce Bochy postgame interview

Q. Can you just talk about Hunter's home run in light that he's been kind of scuffling the past four or five weeks, just what that did to your team, to the crowd, to the game.

BRUCE BOCHY: Oh, that's a huge home run that he made. A great relay there to save them a run. But Hunter, he picked us up. And where he hit that ball, I mean, he got all of it.

We had good at‑bats tonight. It's good to get those early runs, and we had some real nice at‑bats early in the game. Blanco got us going, Buster, and Pablo hit a good pitch, and Pence. It's good to give your guys some early runs there, and Bum was superb.

But Hunter had a good day. You know, he's a guy that's hitting in the heart of our order, and you're looking for those guys to drive in runs, and he had a big game today.

Q. Other than the 67‑mph curveball he threw, was there anything to differentiate this start from any of the others this postseason?

BRUCE BOCHY: No. He was on top of his game, hitting spots, a good fastball going, but his secondary pitches were good, too, his slider, his curveball, changeup. He really did a nice job the one inning. We made an error, but he bowed his neck and made some great pitches to get out of that. I mean, they're getting back in the game, but he kept them from scoring.

Bum has great poise out there, and he showed it tonight. He doesn't get flustered, and he keeps coming at you.

Q. Was there anything at the end of the St. Louis series or maybe when you were working out the last few days that you saw this coming from Hunter?

BRUCE BOCHY: I can't say that. I mean, he's a great talent and he's a good hitter. Like all good hitters, they have their ups and downs, but this guy has really been so consistent for us all year.

He's a little unique in the way he hits. I mean, he can expand the zone, but he's a tough out up there. He's a guy that we want up there in a key situation, but I can't say there is one thing that stood out in the last three or four days. He's a guy that we count on all year, and he came through for us tonight.

Q. Can you take us through the fourth inning just when you used Perez as a pinch hitter. Were you looking to stretch your lead? And did you have your eye on the late innings, because of how good the Royals bullpen is?

BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, well, we had a lead there, I'll start with that. And he's the guy that's going to go out there for defense. Now I know it's early in the game, but with the left‑hander out there, I just decided to hit for Ishi. He's a good bunter, so you try to put a little bit more pressure on them. He laid down a perfect bunt. The next two guys have handled lefties fairly well all year.

So really it was a win‑win for me, because now he's going out there for defense, but he's a guy that put a couple runners in scoring position. So that was really an easy move for me because we're winning the game. We have a lead, so now I'm putting my best defense out there and putting a guy up there who can advance runners.

Q. As good as Bumgarner has been at home, he's been even better on the road. He hasn't given up a run in four years until Perez's home run. Is there any accounting for that?

BRUCE BOCHY: Some things are hard to explain in this game. I can't tell you anything that would make sense of it. He's been the other way, too. He's pitched great at home. I know he had a little streak there where the splits, the home and the road splits, were quite a bit different. But there is nothing I can give you to explain that.

But he's been pitching well at home, too. But he's comfortable on the road. This is a big stage, a loud crowd, but he just keeps that maniacal focus you like when you need to, and he's as good as anybody I've seen at it.

Q. What does Hunter's personality bring to the group in your clubhouse?

BRUCE BOCHY: Well, his energy, his enthusiasm, his passion for the game. He's tireless. He plays every game, but not just that. I mean, he's a guy that's always doing something to inspire his teammates. Not just the way he plays and the energy he plays with, but inside that clubhouse, off the field, and that's what we all love about him. He just loves this game so much. He loves to win, and he's going to keep coming. He's a special guy in that respect because not a lot of guys can get themselves up every day the way he does. He's a tireless worker, and I've said this, he's my lowest maintenance player I've ever had. I just put his name in the lineup and leave him alone.

Q. It didn't look like Lincecum came out for the introductions at the beginning before the game. Was there a reason he didn't come out with you guys?

BRUCE BOCHY: No, I didn't notice, to be honest.

Q. Considering what Bumgarner has done all year and in the postseason, is he a No. 1 in your mind now? Has he reached that point in his career where you can say he's a No. 1?

BRUCE BOCHY: I thought of Bum as a number one for quite a while. This kid has done a great job since he came up here in 2010. He was our Opening Day starter this year. Even when he wasn't, I've said this, I've got two or three guys who I felt were No.1‑type guys. They might not have gone Opening Day, but I've always felt like he was that type of pitcher and his stuff, his makeup. That hasn't changed.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about the team's defense. Crawford's error was like the first by a position player since the Wild Card game. You had that great catch by Blanco in the first inning. Madison made a couple of plays with his glove, knocked one down, caught a long drive. Seems to be one of the most consistent aspects of your team.

BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, well, it's such an important part of the game. We're a team that we lean on our pitching and our defense, and they go hand in hand. These guys have done a great job defensively, especially late in September through this postseason.

We have some gifted defenders, and Crawford is right up there at the top for me. Sure, he made an error, but these guys have really done a great job of concentrating on their defense. I've said this about Blanco, I mean, we lost Pagan, but to have another centerfielder and not just have a centerfielder, but a guy that can cover the ground that Blanco does and really soften the blow of losing a Pagan.

But really, everybody, I think, has done a great job defensively. And that wins games for you. Pitching and defense, and you're hoping to score enough runs, but that's been consistent for us is our pitching and defense.

Q. Did the development of this game surprise you how it went?

BRUCE BOCHY: I can't say I'm surprised by these guys. It's such a tough group. They come out here and play every day. We had a little layoff there and we're facing a good pitcher, but we threw out some good at‑bats. Like I said, Blanco, he got us going, and nothing they do surprises me because it's a group that comes ready. They work so well together. They're a selfless group. They play for each other, and that's what I love about these guys. They're all about winning.

Q. When Bum gave up the home run to Perez, could you sense like a visible reaction from him? He came right back and got the next two guys, but just how locked in was he at that point?

BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, he was probably upset with where the pitch was. Like I said, he doesn't get flustered out there. He kept his poise and he came back and got the next hitter. You're going to make mistakes whether defensively ‑‑ I go back to the St. Louis game. He gave up some runs there, home runs, but he kept coming and ended up going eight innings for us, and that's what you want your pitchers to do.

It doesn't matter if something doesn't go right, but what's important is how you handle it, and he handles it very well.