NLDS Game 2 Post Game Comments

After a 4-2 extra inning win by his team, Braves manager Bobby Cox met with the media at Turner Field. <I><B>Also included:</B></I> Comments from Charles Thomas following the game.

MEDIA: Can you talk about the protest?
COX: Well it doesn't make any difference now. We won the ballgame. I don't even know if a protest like that can hold up. But it just seemed strange in our dugout that Lidge normally pitched the 9th, sometimes the 8th and the 9th, sometimes in the 7th I guess. So we didn't think he was warmed up. They could have had some communications problem, but the phone was working. Absolutely. 100%. But it's irrevelant now and it doesn't matter.

MEDIA: The Braves pulled out the win but still left a lot of runners on base.
COX: Well it makes no difference if you win. Tonight we won but last night we left way too many on. You go in streaks ilke that. It happens during the course of a season. A hit here and there can a ballgame. Sometimes you can go a couple of days like that. Maybe our two days are over with now. We did everything we could to get those runs in and just couldn't do it. Finally, a home run. They had hit six home runs already. I think Andruw hit one last night and Fookie hit one tonight. Sometimes they can be the difference too.

MEDIA: Can something like a home run like Fookie had do something for your team when you're struggling with runners in scoring position?
v COX: I think so to come up with a big hit like that. We had done a good job against Roger getting on base. They had a tight strike zone and so did our guy. It was hard to get the corners called. Our guys did a good job of laying off. We got them on, but we just couldn't get them in. Tonight we had our chances again. We were just hoping for a blooper now and then. The good thing is we did make contact. Most of those situations if you put the ball in play you've got a good chance it will fall in somewhere.

MEDIA: Is that (Fookie's homer) how you break a bad string like that?
COX: I think that's a great way to break the string to have a walk off home run like that.

MEDIA: Talk about Hampton. Only two bad pitches tonight.
COX: I think he made one (bad pitch) maybe. Chavez hit the ball out. Bags (Bagwell) just muscled that ball out of here. That was a decent pitch. Bags is really a strong kid and he just hit it out. He's a great player and has been for a long time. Hampton really gutted it out tonight. To give up four hits to the team was a tremendous performance. He clutched it in a couple of times. We were looking for that and we got it.

MEDIA: What about the distractions Fookie's had the last couple of days?
COX: I think he feels just terrible to be honest with you. I talked to him that we would be there for him all the time. Nobody likes to have their name in the paper like that - that's for sure. As much as we can, we want him to forget about it and concentrate on baseball. Things will work out very good for him in the future. I look for Fookie to have a good rest of the playoffs. He's really playing good short right now. He's been tremendous. He got the game winner tonight, and that's a big boost for that kid.

MEDIA: Were you surprised to see Lidge that early?
COX: It wasn't a shocker that he came in. Just like us John Smoltz went three tonight. He cruised through the first two and then got his pitch count up. He'll be ready to go on Saturday - no doubt. He also got a nice hit there. I thought we were going to win it with him tagging home plate there for a while.

MEDIA: The pressue was on the Braves to win game 2. Is it now on the Astros as you head to Houston?
COX: Well you have to keep it in context. It's a ballgame. Every game has pressure - every single game. We needed to win tonight to go into Houston at least even. But if we had lost last night - I'm always the optimist I suppose - but we have won three in a row a lot this year and there's no reason why we couldn't have done that. John Thomson threw and looked good again today. He'll be out there again on Saturday.

MEDIA: Quite a game tonight to bounce back like that?
THOMAS: Yea you know it's great the way we battled back. We had our opportunities again like we did last night but this time we were able to come away with a win. Smoltzie was huge to be able to hold it like he did. We got it done.

MEDIA: The hit in the 11th.
THOMAS: I had a situation again today where I wasn't able to get it done. So I was glad to be able to get on and we got it done.

MEDIA: What was it like playing in front of your family?
THOMAS: It's great like always. It really doesn't matter if it's an A-ball game or days like this. You've got to appreciate the fact that they were able to come and they want to come. So it was great.

MEDIA: Excited now about going to Houston?
THOMAS: Yea well we definitely did what we needed to do. Looking at 2-0 going to there place was kind of bleak. But it's looking up now and hopefully we can get one or maybe two there.

MEDIA: This team has been down before and bounced back.
THOMAS: Yea I think you saw tonight what's really been going on all season. We've been down and things look like it was pretty much over for us. We were able to battle back and tonight was a good example of that.

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