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10/07/06 8:05 PM ET

Jim Leyland postgame interview

Manager proud of team's pitching, happy to give fans win

Was there ever a moment of doubt that your club to come back and play at this level and regroup?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, I didn't think we would be here this year. I thought that we would get better. Our goal, my goal anyway. I didn't tell the players, I don't believe in that as a team.

I think you set yourself up for disaster when you say we've got to win this many. What we've have to do is get better, look at the pieces and parts we had, and see if we had to change any. I thought that it would be a year or so before we got in a situation like this or would have a chance to.

So this obviously came a little bit quicker than I expected.

If you can talk about Bonderman, it looked like clearly he was in attack mode from that first pitch today. Was that all a joint resolution on your part, along with Chuck and himself, or how did that all play out given what happened last Sunday?

JIM LEYLAND: I just think that, you know, with what happened with Kenny Rogers last night, I think it became instant, contagious. I think Bonderman was just zeroed in from inning one today.

I think, to be honest with you, we caught some breaks with the shadows. It was a little tough to see. And obviously, you're facing a great hitting ballclub, so that's a little bit of an advantage that you might have got.

I just was so proud of the aggressiveness of our pitching staff, particularly the last couple of nights, and even Verlander. We attacked him, and fortunately, in this situation, we won the battle.

Talk about the hitting attack tonight. You got a lot of help from all sides of the plate, but a little bit more about the guys, the way they swung the bat.

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JIM LEYLAND: I just think that they had such an approach today that it was tremendous. You know, I talked to the team before the game today about, you know, don't think about a celebration. Don't think about being 2-1, or if you were 0-2 or 1-2.

Don't think about if we lose we have to go to New York or if we win we have we get to stay home. Don't think about the crowd. Just go up there and concentrate on Wright. Everything else will possibly fall into place if that happens.

Truthfully, I think we got caught up in that last weekend. We wanted so badly to give our fans a party. We were so anxious to celebrate and we were not able to do it.

That's why I'm especially proud of this one. I hope our fans can forgive us for last weekend, and I hope they can enjoy this one, because this is a pretty big one.

How does a team go from losing five straight in the end of the regular season to basically dominating the New York Yankees a week later?

JIM LEYLAND: Like I said at start of the year, the Yankees -- every game is a new chapter. This is not like a weekend series during the regular season. It's a totally different ballgame.

You know, things turn quickly in these short series, particularly a five game series which are dangerous. Which, by the way, maybe in some ways the good Lord was looking after us, because I think it was probably -- not that it was easy. It was probably a little bit of a bonus for us to have to only beat the Yankees three times instead of four.

That probably turned out good. And I want to take this time to congratulate the Yankees on another great season. And it's kind of ironic, really, because in Spring Training, I said when we played the Yankees, I said, you know, I want you to get to where we take the field like the Yankees take the field. There's a special air about them. There's a special confidence, not cockiness. But a special air.

I said, that's the level that we want to get to, and we've got to get that quiet swagger and confidence that the Yankees get. I used them as a great example all spring. It was just kind of ironic that we got to play them, and fortunately beat them, in the playoffs.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.