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10/10/05 3:20 AM ET

Flaherty: 'We just came up short'

Catcher looks back on series-ending loss

NEW YORK -- The Yankees' season came to a disappointing end on Monday night, when the Bombers fell, 5-3, to the Angels in Game 5 of the American League Division Series.

Mike Mussina was hit for five runs in the second and third innings, creating a deficit the Yankees couldn't overcome. Randy Johnson gave New York 4 1/3 innings of shutout relief, but Ervin Santana -- pitching for the injured Bartolo Colon -- and two relievers nailed down the win for the Angels.

Yankees catcher John Flaherty has been providing game-by-game analysis for MLB.com throughout the postseason. Flaherty spoke with MLB.com's Mark Feinsand following the loss, discussing Mussina and Johnson's outings, the keys to the series for the Angels and the disappointment of going home for an early winter.

MLB.com: What emotions are running through this clubhouse after a tough loss?

Flaherty: Looking back at the year, from the beginning of the year, we never felt good about ourselves. We almost thought that we had no chance to win. The second half, we played really well, played together and felt like there was no way we were going to lose.

Even in today's game, being down early, in the ninth inning with two outs, we felt like we were going to find a way. When it didn't work out, it was almost like disbelief. We just came up short.

MLB.com: When Colon goes out of the game in the second, did you think that was a good thing for you?

Flaherty: We knew Santana was a good pitcher, because he pitched well against us this year. We thought if we could get to him early, maybe we could rattle him in a big game. It looked like we did that, but once he settled in, he was awfully tough. We knew we had our hands full with him.

MLB.com: Were you surprised that the Angels were able to knock Mussina out as early as they did?

Flaherty: Yeah, especially after the first inning, when he looked real sharp. We had a long inning, they had to change pitchers, and maybe that took its toll. Mike didn't look the same when he went out there after that. Randy came in and did his job, and we had our opportunities. We just didn't capitalize on them.

MLB.com: Speaking of Randy Johnson, how impressed were you with the job he did out of the bullpen?

Flaherty: It was huge. We talked earlier this week about how we expected him to come out in his next outing and have a good one, and he did that tonight.

MLB.com: What do you think was the biggest key for the Angels in the series?

Flaherty: [Kelvim] Escobar did a great job as a bridge to K-Rod. They got some timely hitting -- they play hard and aggressive. We shut down [Chone] Figgins and their running game, which we thought was going to be a big weapon for them. At the end of the day, they just played better.

MLB.com: Given the way your team came back all year, did you think there would be one more comeback in the ninth inning?

Flaherty: Our attitude the whole second half and down the stretch was, "We're going to find a way to win." When [Derek] Jeter gets on to lead it off, then Alex [Rodriguez] hits into a double play, but then Jason [Giambi] gets on with a single, we felt like we were going to make something happen, but they made the plays.

MLB.com: Is there any sense of accomplishment for this season given all the obstacles your team had to overcome?

Flaherty: No. When you sign on here, you know what the goal is, what the objective is and what the expectations are. The expectations are to win a World Series. I've been here three years and we've come up short every year. There's no sense of accomplishment; it's disappointment that we didn't get the job done.

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.