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Yankees-Tigers ALDS Game 4: Post-Game Reactions

Here are some of the post-game reactions from the New York Yankees’ 10-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers in Game 4 of their American League Division Series Tuesday night. The deciding Game 5 is Thursday at Yankee Stadium.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi:

Q. Joe, you’ve talked for a couple of days about your belief that A.J. would come through with the big game. How happy were you to see him come up with that performance?
JOE GIRARDI: I was thrilled for him, but I was thrilled for us. What he did 5 2/3 and only giving up that one run. A great performance. Struggled a little bit in the first inning. And then really settled down nicely.

Q. Joe, when you saw that ball leave Kelly’s bat, did you think that might be trouble for Curtis?
JOE GIRARDI: I thought, you know, it was going to be an out. Then it just kept carrying and carrying, then I got a little bit nervous. Curtis made two great grabs. If that ends up a base hit, it very well could have changed the complexion of this game.

Yankee outfielder Curtis Granderson:

Q. Obviously the first one (catch) saved three runs, the second one only one. That one probably had more impact. Which one was the more difficult catch?
CURTIS GRANDERSON: I would say the second one, because of the distance I had to go. The first one I didn’t have to move too far for it but I did have to freeze on it. It does make that play very difficult. Once you end up on your heels, now it’s hard to go ahead and generate some speed. For the second one to have to go as far as I did and then have to leave my feet like that.
The good thing thought if I do miss that one, Gardner is there. For the first one if I miss that one, there’s nothing there but the wall back there and some ivy.

Q. Curtis, what impact do you think that first one had on your starting pitcher?
CURTIS GRANDERSON: I think it was great. I don’t pitch, but at the same time I know it’s definitely a lot easier to go out there and mentally different knowing you’re still tied versus being behind. Who knows what could have happened at that point. Especially with it being — I think the first inning, we get behind in an elimination game. Here in Detroit, the fans stay in it, the fans get more into it, and now everything stays up staying neutral and we are able to keep it right where we want to. And Derek comes up with the big hit to finally put us on the board first.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland:

Q. Jim, when the game was still close, can you talk about Granderson’s catches and how big those were?
JIM LEYLAND: I thought — it’s funny, sometimes you pick a key out in the game, and I think the key out in the game happened in the very first inning when Donnie Kelly smoked that ball and Grandy made a good play. It looked like it might get over his head. If it would have gotten over his head and he had fallen down, it might have been an inside-the-park home run. That was a huge out right off the bat. And of course he made another very nice catch.

Q. You’ve talked a few times throughout the series that this is exciting, it’s fun. Can you talk now going into Yankee Stadium, everything on the line.
JIM LEYLAND: I think that’s great. There’s no question about it. Yankee Stadium, it’s going to be hopping. But I think I want to take this opportunity to certainly thank our fans. I think the excitement here matches anywhere. I think you saw what was going on here last night and again tonight, until it got out of the hand, I think it matches anywhere.
It’s a great place, Yankee Stadium. This new stadium doesn’t have the history, obviously, that the old one did, but still it’s going to be a great atmosphere. We’ll see what happens.

Yankees pitchers A.J. Burnett:

Q. A.J., when the ball leaves Kelly’s bat in the first inning, did you think it would be caught?
A.J. BURNETT: At first, no. It was a line drive. I guess it kind of stayed up there a little longer than Curtis expected it. He’s made plays for us like that all year. Even last year. So we don’t win that game tonight without defense.

Q. A.J., you mentioned it was a little nerve-racking the first inning. When you first went out there, were you nervous or amped up or in any way for this —
A.J. BURNETT: Yeah. I was a little of both. It was a big game. I went into it yesterday knowing it was, all week, actually. When you come in somebody else’s house, you have the fans, you have them, you have a great team you’re going up against that can hit the ball, and you walk the first guy, and you’re overthrowing. I knew I was overthrowing, but I wasn’t going to think about it. When you think about it, that’s when it goes more south.
It was a little bit of both. Once that first inning was over after Curtis saved me, I was able to take a breath, and then our offense took over.

— Full transcripts at ASAP Sports