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Brandon Backe postgame quotes10/19/2004 1:22 AM ET
Q. You're known as an emotional guy. How did you control your emotions throughout this game?
BRANDON BACKE: Well, I had a talk with Clemens the day after my start in St. Louis. Basically, he told me to relax and channel all my, I have a lot of energy, and it's obvious to everybody, but he basically just told me to channel it towards the catcher and what I'm supposed to be doing out there.
I think I did that today. I got a little bit excited sometimes throughout the game, but I kept it under control and basically just used it out there while I was on the mound.
Q. Phil (Garner) mentioned this, and we've all seen it a lot, sometimes when a pitcher has a no hitter going pretty late into the ballgame and gives up that first hit, it can really throw him off balance in his form. Obviously, that didn't happen to you. Was that something you were thinking in your head, when they got that first hit that went through?
BRANDON BACKE: No. I was upset that I gave up the hit. I had a chance to have something remarkable happen.
But the reason I gave up the hit was because I lost sight of my mechanics. Not taking away anything from Tony (Womack), but I started to lose my mechanics in that time of the game, leaving balls up.
But I refocused and after that inning, I made myself go back to what I was doing in the beginning of the game.
Q. You might have been upset on that hit. Obviously, they showed the joy you had when Beltran made that catch. Talk about that and how that pushed you on through.
BRANDON BACKE: You can't say enough about that guy. He's an unbelievable athlete. I think that was a great catch at the time of the game. If he doesn't make that catch and it gets by him, who knows what's going to happen.
But that's what he's out there for. He's a great, great player. That was a pivotal time for us to have that play.
Q. Would you speak to the reliance you had on Brad Ausmus.
BRANDON BACKE: Just like every game, I follow on him 90 percent of the time. He allows me to shake off and put down the sign that I think I want to throw. If it's not what he likes, then he'll tell me no and I'll step off.
We've become a good battery. We're starting to have a relationship. He's starting to learn me; I'm starting to learn him. He helps me out tremendously, blocking balls, making calls, and keeping me under control.
Q. Pitching in your own hometown, is it more effort to have to concentrate, block everything out like you did tonight?
BRANDON BACKE: I kind of fall back on the crowd, to tell you the truth. They help me out, keep me going. I don't hear them all the time, but when something positive happens and you hear 40,000 people stand up and cheer, it's hard not to hear them, for one; for two, I just think it gives me a boost.
Q. Since you won the Texas shootout tonight, did you have any idea the pitching would be so even between the two of you?
BRANDON BACKE: Well, Woody (Williams) had a good outing his first start. He's a good pitcher. He was on tonight, just like I was.
You kind of can't really describe what happened out there. We were just both in a rhythm and feeling good about ourselves. You would think that with the lineup that we have and the lineup that they have, there's going to be some runs scored. But I think when you have two guys I can only speak for myself when you feel as good as I did out there tonight and felt in the rhythm that I was in, you just feel like nobody can hit you.
Q. Probably over the last month, every start you've had has been up to that point the biggest start you've had in your life. You've been playing elimination baseball for almost two months now. Has it become almost a regular thing for you?
BRANDON BACKE: Yeah, probably. I basically take the game as if it was another game. I mean, obviously, you know what the game is worth, but I can't let that get too caught up in my head. I've got to stay focused. Like Clemens said, just stay focused on what I need to do and not let anything else bother me.
Q. When did you find out you were coming out of the game? What did Phil say to you and what was your reaction?
BRANDON BACKE: I put my batting gloves on and my helmet thinking I was going to go up there. I kind of felt like I wasn't going to be in the game anymore. But I thought maybe he wanted me to go up to the batter's box and maybe throw a curveball to the other team.
But I knew it right away, when Palmeiro was going up to the batter's box. I think it was a great move. I was tired. I did what I was supposed to do and it was time to end it.
Q. The ball Sanders hit leading off the eighth, did he just crush one? Off the bat did you say he hit that to the right part of the park for you?
BRANDON BACKE: Well, probably lucky. I mean, I missed my spot; I got it up. He's a good fastball hitter. Just tried to get ahead of him. Tried to throw a ball on the outer part of the plate and get ahead of him. He was sitting on it. He got a good pitch to hit and he hit it well.
Got lucky he hit it to centerfield.
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