I couldn’t sleep the night before the series started. You just want the game to be here. Then it’s finally here, and you go out and play, get a big win, and it’s just an incredible feeling.
What you do after a game like this is you go home, dream about it, get up tomorrow, and come back and do it again.
Sure, it’s a big win, and my home run felt great. But it’s just one game, and we know how good these Red Sox are. Nobody has to tell us.
The first thing I want to mention is the crowd. Man, it was loud. I’ve never heard Angel Stadium get that loud. That was exciting.
It was a great duel starting out between two of the best, John Lackey and Jon Lester. Lackey was Lackey. He came through big with his A game when we needed it. And Lester, man, he’s tough — one of the best lefties in the game. He throws hard, and he brings that slider down at your feet.
In my second at-bat, when I walked, he actually hit me on the back foot with a pitch. I looked back at the umpire, Joe West, but he didn’t see it. So I stayed up there. Right now, my big toenail is sore.
When I came up in the fifth, we had runners on first and third. It was a good hitting situation. Erick Aybar doubled, and Chone Figgins bunted him to third. Then Bobby Abreu walked. Four walks in one game – can you believe that? That man is too much.
I took a pitch from Lester and then he threw a two-seam fastball. Bobby was running, and I saw him going. I hit a mistake, I guess. I usually pop it up. Truth is, I didn’t know where the ball was. I closed my eyes and swung.
Running the bases, the crowd going crazy, the adrenaline was pumping so hard, it was unbelievable. I wish everyone could know what that feels like. It’s hard to describe. Just an unbelievable experience. I was running the bases and talking to myself, kind of like when I played football in high school. `Do what you do,’ that kind of thing.
When I got in the dugout, I was so excited I spiked my helmet. It was just one of those moments, a tremendous release.
This is special. I rank it way up there. But it’s just the start.
We played the way I know we can play in this first game. Now we have to keep it going. I try to lead by example. I don’t know if I’m going to hit a home run – you can’t just tell yourself to do it. You just react and play the game, have faith and confidence that you’re going to get it done.
What I like about our team is that the guys brought the dog with them. You can’t be scared, or you’re never going to make it happen.
We have to keep believing in ourselves and keep playing the game with passion and playing smart. If we do that, I like our chances.