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Phil Garner postgame quotes
10/17/2004 9:45 PM ET
Q. Can you talk about the pitch that Beltran hit out.

PHIL GARNER: Well, it looked like a slider to me and it was rolling up to the, getting ready to bounce off the plate. I got to tell you, this kid is some kind of locked in. Went up there with a single-minded purpose and got the job done. He's been doing it now for two series, in these two series.

Phenomenal job by him. This was a terrific game today all the way around.

Q. You think Roy (Oswalt) had basically a two pitch repertoire today?

PHIL GARNER: He tried a couple other pitches, they just didn't work. He was really struggling trying to find some rhythm with his fastball. He couldn't get it where he wanted to, quite obviously. Threw a lot of pitches. When you show this lineup a lot of pitches, they can hurt you.

The good news is that the game didn't get out of hand. We kept coming back. They just couldn't quite put us away, and that was, I thought, the turning point of the game. It was like we were never quite out of it so we didn't allow them to really gain a whole lot of momentum. You have to give our guys credit for fighting in that kind of ballgame.

Q. Can you give insight into the discussion that went on about when and how you would use Lidge today.

PHIL GARNER: He came to the ballpark, said he felt great, said he felt better than yesterday, I said, "Good, you're going to pitch two innings today." End of the conversation. And he said, "Thanks, very good."

Q. Carlos and Berkman had the big lumber today. Can you talk about the lift it gave the bench on Chavez's hit?

PHIL GARNER: Well, I don't know if you know, but we've been without Lamb for a couple of days. His wife gave birth to a baby girl yesterday. When you're a little short handed, you might otherwise have done another move, it sure is good, and I'm happy for Raul that he would come through in such a big situation. He's played well for us down this stretch. One of the overlooked guys a lot of times, but he's done a fantastic job behind the plate. He's come up with some big hits for us.

I don't know that there's any bigger hit in his life he'll ever tell you than that one today that drives in the tying run.

Q. Even with Lidge in there, how nervous does it make you with Pujols coming up with a man on in the ninth?

PHIL GARNER: Well, obviously, quite frankly, I don't know if it was the deafening noise of the crowd, I didn't feel that nervous. I was kind of locked into the ballgame because there were all kinds of moves going on. St. Louis had used a lot of people; Tony (LaRussa) had people up and down the lineup. I'm trying to stay focused on the lineup and where we are in the lineup.

So I don't think nervous necessarily was part of the factor. We were studying where we were in the lineup and deciding what potential moves there were to be made.

So there's a lot of things going on than just relishing the moment. If you sit back and relish the moment, the crowd was some kind of deafening. You couldn't even hear yourself talk to the other coaches, hardly. We were having to scream in each others' ears.

It is disconcerting when you see Pujols at the plate, there's no question. We've not made good pitches on him, as you can see. We had a tendency to hang sliders and hang some good fastballs out there. He doesn't miss them very often.

But our guys did a good job today. They did a good job battling back in this game.

Q. You brought Dan Wheeler in sort of to bridge the gap. Was that a predisposed move, or what was the thought process going into that?

PHIL GARNER: Dan was throwing the ball well his previous couple outings. I decided I was going to go to him in that situation today.

Q. Phil, what about Lidge's availability tomorrow?

PHIL GARNER: Couple innings (laughter). He better get his sleep.

He'll have a couple hours' extra rest. What does he expect? I'm sure he'll feel fine. As usual, we'll check with him tomorrow when he gets to the ballpark, and he's out after BP and see how he feels.

Q. Beltran has now tied Barry Bonds' postseason home run record with 10 fewer at bats. How do you explain that?

PHIL GARNER: First, you have to have the ability to do it. Secondly, you have to get into a mental zone. You hear athletes talking about the zone, or when you're locked in, when you're seeing the ball well. Obviously, Carlos is seeing the ball well. We've been watching him swing the bat well for several months now. This is as good as I've ever seen anybody swing the bat, not just Carlos Beltran. He is swinging the bat very well.

And he's done it in big situations for us, key situations.

That's not to overlook some of our other players, too. Berkman has a great you didn't ask about it but he had a great game today, too. I think this team deserves a lot of credit today.

Q. Would you speak one more time of Berkman behind Beltran in importance.

PHIL GARNER: Well, when you're able to stack the lineup and you have several good hitters, that's, I think, we'd addressed that perhaps yesterday, that if there's someone really struggling with the bat, there is a hole there and you can sort of pitch around to get to that spot. But when you have guys that are equally as capable of hitting the ball out of the ballpark, equally as capable for hitting on average, driving in runs with base hits, and you can get three or four of them in a row, now you have a tough lineup to keep getting through four times in a ballgame.

I think that has been, in a large part, the reason for some of our success down the stretch. Because if it hasn't been Beltran or Biggio or Baggy or Berkman, it's been Kent and so on and so forth. That's what makes the lineups extremely difficult.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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