REDEYE: How surprised were you that Pudge reached that pitch?
BAKO: Not as surprised as I was that Prior didn't get it where he wanted it. Not that it was a bad pitch from Mark. It wasn't quite as low or wide as I think he wanted it to be. I was more surprised by that. I was not surprised that Pudge got a hit off it. Because that's just how effective and how much in command Mark was. He could throw the ball anywhere at any time. He could do anything he wanted, you know?
Think about it man: that Pudge ball is a little lower, and then [pauses] … [bleep].
MIGUEL CABRERA, runners at 1st and 2nd, one out, 3-1 Cubs.
1 pitch: Ground ball to shortstop, error on Alex Gonzalez, everybody safe.
REDEYE: And then the next pitch is the Gonzalez play.
BAKO: Yeah, the very next pitch. Exactly.
The ball was a little bit to Gonzo's right. And watching Gonzo play all year, I knew that we had at least one out at second. Once I realized it wasn't going to the hole, I thought, "Well, there's at least one out." And then obviously it didn't work out. We didn't get him.
PRIOR: We got what we wanted. It wasn't a great pitch, but it was a pitch we were looking for. Off-speed pitch to start him in the count, he's either going to take a strike or have him looking for a fastball, which I think he was, based on his swing. And he hit a ground ball to short. It was exactly what we needed. We got what we needed. And, you know, he dropped the ball. So not only did we not get a double play, but we didn't get one out.
REDEYE: How big of a surprise was that error?
BAKO: Very big. Gonzo was as sure and steady as you possibly could get. He had 10 [errors] in the regular season. That's damn good for a big league shortstop playing 162 games, you know? That's my point. That's how surprising it was. Gonzo just doesn't make errors.
PRIOR: Was I surprised looking back on it? Yeah. Alex— I don't know how many errors he made all year, but he was pretty sure-handed. I think everybody to a man, if you said, "Were you surprised he dropped it?" "Yeah," just because of how well he'd played defense.
But you gotta come from the mindset of, "They made an error, I'm going to pick them up." If I walk a guy, I love Alex making great plays and turning double plays. It's about picking up your guys. Like, "I'm going to make a pitch here and get the next guy out. We're going to get out of this."
DERREK LEE, bases loaded, one out, 3-1 Cubs.
1 pitch: Double to left, two runs score, Cabrera to 3rd.
BAKO: We'd gotten into D-Lee's kitchen a lot with balls at his hands and belt-high and in, and that one was just a little lower than I believe Mark wanted. He definitely got it in there. It just wasn't quite as high as some of the other pitches we were beating D-Lee on the whole series.
PRIOR: I threw a pretty good pitch to the next batter. And to this day I still think he—it was 95 on the inside part of the plate. He had to be looking for it because he turned on it and that's what scored the next run.
After Derrek Lee's run-scoring double, Dusty Baker made a pitching change, bringing in Kyle Farnsworth.
BAKO: It was unbelievable. It was so loud when Mark was in the game, and even after the fly ball to left and after the ball Pudge hit and after the ball Cabrera put in play—all that stuff was fine and dandy. And then, you know, some of the energy definitely got lost when Prior came out and Farnsy came in.
PRIOR: I was just sitting there [in the dugout] watching and hoping we get out of there sooner rather than later. It didn't happen. We got out of it later. (Laughs.) I don't remember having a whole lot of emotion one way or the other. I was upset, but not down or depressed. Just a normal competitive madness kind of thing.