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10/07/05 11:33 AM ET

Bobby Cox postgame interview

Talk about John Smoltz's performance.

BOBBY COX: I thought he pitched a great ballgame, actually. Even in the first inning, I told Leo (Mazzone) and Fredi Gonzalez sitting next to me, I said, "How in the world can we have a run in already and the bases loaded with the way he's throwing the ball?"

You know, managed to get out of that inning and he cruised pretty much after that.

So I thought he threw great. He was pretty much done after the seventh inning. And hopefully, you know, he'll be able to pitch again.

Are you no longer surprised by what the young kids do? You look at what (Brian) McCann did.

COX: Not really, because they're all capable of doing what they did tonight. McCann had the big home run, he got a great pitch to hit and he hit it. That's the key, when you get a pitch, you got to hit the darn thing.

And, you know, (Jeff) Francoeur battled for a bloop hit RBI. They battled. They know how to battle, and they have talent. They're not just up here to fill in. They are up here to help us win.

How unusual is it that a young guy like McCann ends up being the personal catcher of a pitcher like John Smoltz's stature and they hook up so well?

COX: Well, they do. John told me right from the get go, he said, "Give me McCann, right away." That was a big boost for the kid, I think. The other pitchers he's caught. He's caught everything. They all like him. He does a great job calling the game, setting up, and he can throw the ball well. And he's a good hitter, he's a tough out.

I think John sort of adopting him really made his year. Had a lot of faith in him.

Where did that extra ball come from? When Francoeur was in a run down, there was a ball by the pitcher's mound.

COX: I don't know where those balls came from. They started throwing them, and Jeff Nelson, first base umpire, went over to the commissioner's box. Bud's not here, but the reps were, and said we had to do a better job of getting them off the field, I guess.

But I don't know. They were throwing balls on the field tonight. We've never had that here.

Speaking of Jeff Nelson at first base, there were three very close calls. You came out of the dugout each of the three times. Describe what happened.

COX: I don't know. They were tough. Tough calls. They were bangers. I thought a couple of them should have gone our way maybe at third, and maybe one or two at first, I don't know.

They were so close, either way he calls them I think he's going to be right, they were that close.

Even though John was throwing well in the first inning, how concerned were you that he threw a lot of pitches given the state of his shoulder?

COX: Well, I was concerned because after two innings he had like 42 pitches and that did concern me. But he caught up extremely well. If he felt good enough, he could have went eight easy. But it did concern me, that many pitches.

But he caught up in his pitch count. Like I said, I thought he kind of cruised, you know, the rest of the innings.

Bobby, how much of a confidence booster was this for Chris Reitsma? Gave up a bloop, but got out of a jam?

COX: Same thing. Started exactly the same way last night. He pitched great last night, nobody would believe me and they write it differently. He gave up a ball that was reasonably good. They had four or five runs in that inning. Started the same way, got four or five popups. I thought he actually pitched good two or three days in a row.

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