10/08/2002 03:09 am ET
Sanders: 'That was nerve-racking'
ATLANTA -- That was nerve-racking. Wow. That's all you can say. We were fighting against all the negative emotions that come with being down two games to one and trying to turn it into positive emotions. We were just trying to stay within ourselves because a lot of times, with the emotions that you go through before a game, it can either be a bad thing or a good thing. You learn how to channel that so the emotions were very high. A lot was made about us arriving at 6:15 this morning, but we didn't think about that at all. We were trying to focus as much as you could.
The key for us was scoring that first run because it gave us a chance to relax, and put a little more pressure on the opposing team. The first couple pitches in that at-bat were high fastballs and that's something I've been trying to lay off of -- I've been working with hitting coach Gene Clines on that. The pitch I hit was a slider and I stayed up the middle with it and was able to drive in Barry, which gave us good momentum.
The bullpen, the pitching staff, they're the heart of this ballclub and we continue to need them. It's a joint effort. They've really been a plus for us because they're the reason why we are where we are. They keep us in the games as close as we can get to where we can scratch runs in and do what we need to do. It's a joint effort.
I know we'll be the underdogs again in St. Louis and that's fine because we were underdogs here. We don't really focus on that that much. We focus on trying to do the necessary things to drive in runs, get good pitching and good defense.
I also know I said that I thought the team that won this series was going to go to the World Series, but I don't want to get too high on the highs or too low on the lows. We just have to stay as humble as we can and stay as focused as we can. All year, this team has fought back from a lot of tough situations and there's so much heart in this clubhouse, it would be sad to just let it go to waste. This team has been resilient, as I've said, and I just felt like whoever passed this test is going to go to the next level.
This was definitely a test.
Reggie Sanders' column was told to Josh Rawitch, a reporter for MLB.com who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.