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Phil Garner postgame quotes
10/22/2004 1:22 AM ET
Q. What do you think of Albert Pujols, the type of hitter he is?

PHIL GARNER: Before I answer, let me congratulate Tony La Russa, Walt Jocketty and the ownership of the Cardinals and their whole team. It's not just Albert Pujols, we'll get to him in a minute. But they're a class organization, they have been for many, many years, going back to my second year in baseball when I joined them down in St. Petersburg for some winter baseball, when I was on loan from the Oakland A's.

We congratulate them and would like them to win the World Series, bring the World Championship into the National League.

So the Astros congratulate the Cardinals.

As far as Albert Pujols is concerned, he's a terrific hitter. What makes the lineup so tough is there's other guys in the lineup that can beat you, too. We felt like Rolen was starting to swing the bat well tonight. We were concerned about that. We felt like we made some pitches on Albert, that we could get him out on.

Truth of the matter was, he came up with a big hit to tie the ballgame. But we were right about Rolen, too; he was swinging the bat pretty well tonight, too.

Q. Can you talk about Rolen's ball? It was such a line drive. Did you know it had a chance to get out of the park?

PHIL GARNER: I couldn't see really. I knew it was hit well. We had hit a bunch of balls good tonight and we couldn't seem to get them over anybody's head or in front of them.

So I wasn't sure if the ball was going to go out tonight or not. I thought maybe the air was a little bit heavier than it has been the couple of days we've been here. So I wasn't really sure.

Q. There's an old saying in baseball, "Good pitching will always stop good hitting." You have a potent lineup, similar to the Cardinals. What do you say about that?

PHIL GARNER: Well, I would say that the Cardinals pitched well, and particularly when they needed it. We couldn't hit the ball any better than we did in the eighth inning, it just happened to be at people. We hit the ball good tonight on several occasions.

Perhaps the play of the night that maybe turned the whole thing around was the one Edmonds made on Ausmus' ball. Maybe we break the game open there.

But, you know, you can't ask your guys any more than just to hit the ball. We can't guide it after that. We hit a lot of balls good tonight, and the Cardinals defended us well and played us well.

Q. What was the discussion with Roger (Clemens) before Pujols' at bat in the sixth?

PHIL GARNER: Well, Roger's earned the right to put his two cents' worth in on any of those decisions. We talked about whether he wanted to go ahead and walk Pujols and pitch to Rolen or if we wanted to try to make pitches on Pujols. We felt like we could make some good pitches on Pujols. We felt like Rolen was swinging the bat, as I alluded to earlier, starting to swing the bat well. We wanted to be very cautious with both guys.

I thought we made some good pitches to Pujols and we made a bad pitch to Rolen. Got too much of the plate and he made us pay for it.

Q. Would you talk about everything your team accomplished, going 36-10, taking the Cardinals to Game 7 of the LCS?

PHIL GARNER: Well, I just told my players that without question this is one of the greatest runs in the history of the game. We would have liked to have taken it farther, there's no question.

I would hope that everybody in our organization, this just makes us more determined, the whole organization, to make that next step and get to the World Series, and have a little taste of this now.

It was a fantastic run. There's a lot of good things that happened. But I've said it several times, I say it again tonight, that our veteran leadership pulled this ballclub up at a time when it looked almost impossible.

I described our season from midway on as very improbable. I think that's appropriate.

But our veteran leadership definitely took charge and that was the reason that we played the way we played. We fell one game short of getting to the World Series, but we're very proud of what our players accomplished.

Q. Would you talk about Clemens' performance and how you thought he fared tonight?

PHIL GARNER: Well, I thought his performance was good. Even in that inning Cedeno hits a ground ball that leaks through. Pujols hits the ball and then of course Rolen hits it out of the ballpark.

But I didn't think that the Cardinals hit the ball any better than we did tonight perhaps not even as good as we did. But they certainly hit them at the right times and when they needed to. I said before the game we needed to score some runs and we were going to have to have some of these games where we were going to have to outscore the Cardinals and we failed to do that.

Roger had us right in the ballgame. He gave us plenty of opportunities to stay ahead and add some on to it and we weren't able to do it.

So Roger pitched absolutely brilliant ball for us this year.

Q. You said the pitch Albert hit was a good pitch. Would you give us your impression of that hit and what Albert was able to do.

PHIL GARNER: When I say that, when we pitched to him, we basically did what we wanted to do. I'm not sure the pitch maybe was in far enough. I could hardly see the replay. It was a little blurry. I couldn't quite tell.

But I think that we had a good plan on that, and then fortunately Rolen's pitch had too much of the plate and he centered it.

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