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Garner postgame quotes
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10/06/2004 11:27 PM ET
Garner postgame quotes
Astros manager talks about the Game 1 victory
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Q. The Astros seemed to be floundering earlier in the year. When you came in, you made the difference. What did you do to get this team going?

PHIL GARNER: Well, it would be a huge mistake to say I made the difference. I hope I'm somewhat a part of it, but we had, in our darkest hour, and when things looked the worst, we had some veterans that stepped up and showed a great deal of leadership, did not quit, and we kept saying, "We'll put one good streak together." When we were saying that, we were thinking eight out of ten games. We ended up winning 12. Really looked forward when we were in that stretch, kept doing what we were doing at the end of the series, looked up, seeing where we were, we kept jumping ahead of teams.

During that time, our veterans played great, they started pulling up some of the young kids that stepped in to play a few roles, particularly in the bullpen. Backe, starting role. Started doing some good things.

We're literally here because we have a lot of fantastic individual players. We look at Kent's numbers, Biggio's numbers, Clemens' numbers, Oswalt's numbers, but we've really done this as a team. It's not me, and it's not any one guy; everybody's had a huge part in this thing.

Q. How is Beltran? Can you talk about the at-bats he had today?

PHIL GARNER: He did what we've seen him do on several occasions this year when he gets locked in at the plate. He can do a lot of things. He's a guy, you just saw what he did; he can run, he can get on base with singles and then he can take it out of any part of the ballpark. When he's on base, he's electric because he can steal when he wants to.

To answer the first part of the question, it hurt him pretty good. Got him real good, solid in the ribs. He's sore right now. He was having trouble breathing when I got over there.

Q. With Clemens coming off the flu, what were your considerations for him in the fifth, sixth and seventh?

PHIL GARNER: Well, by the time we got to the fifth, I thought I was going to have to take him out. He looked to me like he'd been struggling a little bit. But I think it was more he had a big hole at the rubber, pitching rubber. I think that Roger is very balanced when he goes up, and he's very soft with his left foot. So if his balance gets thrown off at all, if it throws him back a little bit -- so his footing has to be good. Jaret Wright had left a big hole out there. When their reliever came in, they fixed it. I think from that point on, he started getting into more of a rhythm. I was just hoping to get through the fifth at one point, then he looked to me like he got a little stronger in the sixth. I thought he was real strong in the seventh. So each time I had guys ready to go, but each time, as he's done all year long, he got the job done.

Like I've been saying, he finds a way to get it done. This was not his best performance today, but he got the job done.

Q. Do you talk to Roger between innings?

PHIL GARNER: Yes, yes.

Q. Did he make you at all nervous in the early innings with his control?

PHIL GARNER: I was concerned early on, because he did get behind. When the pitch count starts getting up there a little bit, you're counting on him to get you deep in the ballgame, and I did get a little bit concerned.

But he kept, you know -- when he needed to do something, he got something done. They chipped away. He gave a little bit here and there, but they didn't get through to him.

Q. How much of a factor is Clemens in the clubhouse?

PHIL GARNER: I think that it's part of -- it's a piece of the puzzle that makes it very -- let's put it this way, it's a link in the chain that makes it very, very strong.

I think if you took any one of the links out, Bagwell, Biggio, Kent, or you certainly took Roger out, I think it would weaken somewhere along the way. Roger is a big part of that, there's no question.

I think in terms of these guys that have been there, done that, all these guys, you take a look at our club, there's five potential Hall of Famers on our club. From the other standpoint, from young pitchers, and I think from young players that have been around him, he does do a lot of things that impress you. His work ethic, he's always, physically prepared, and he's always mentally prepared. The way he works the lineup, he goes after guys he wants to go after, and if there's somebody that gives him trouble, he'll pitch around him but then he slams the door after that.

So it's a beautiful thing to watch when he's in his rhythm and when he's going. Now he really didn't get in his rhythm today until the last couple of innings, but when he gets in, it's a beautiful thing to watch. And that is part of his leadership quality to the younger players.

But I think everybody's taken this leadership responsibility on the ballclub. He's a big part of it, but there are other guys that are a big part of it as well.

Q. How do you feel Roy Oswalt will respond? Will you feed off of Roger's success? And how is Carlos Beltran's availability?

PHIL GARNER: Well, I don't know if that's what's going on. I used to think it was great, with the Pirates, when we had Dave Parker, if we had somebody that drove in 150 runs, Dave Parker was going to drive in 151 runs. You call it whatever you want to call it. He was the lead dog and wasn't going to let anyone get ahead of him. If that's the way these two are playing off each other, I think it's great. If one's trying to outdo the other, or whatever, I think that's a great thing.

I don't sense that's what's going on. I think that when you have a guy like Roger that pitches as well as he does, and a guy with Roy's capability does step up and see what happens, but Roy's pitched well in his own right. He pitched well before Rocket got here. I think it perhaps has helped him, no question. I think there's going to be things that Roy will draw on that he's seen the Rocket do over some time, and I think that will help Roy over time.

But I think Roy really does a fine job on his own, too. But certainly helps having both of them, I can tell you that.

Q. Carlos' availability?

PHIL GARNER: Carlos' availability, we'll have to see. I don't know. I just don't know.

Q. Did you address the Astros' history, especially offensively, in the postseason?

PHIL GARNER: Actually, we don't kind of let those things -- we don't let them lie under the surface, not afraid to address them. I think there have been several questions asked, and I talked to Bagwell and Biggio, and I thought both of them had answered it well and took the good approach.

This is a different era. It's a different time. There's a different supporting cast, even though those two are still here. I think perhaps in the past there had been a lot of focus on them, and perhaps way too much got put on their plate. I think now you've got a lot of other players that can stand with them and can do the job, also. Both players did a fine job today, and I think they'll continue to do well, I think they'll continue to play well in this series.

I don't think the history of not having done anything is going to apply in our case now; I think we're beyond that.

Q. When did you become aware of the problem with the mound? Did you bring it to the umpire's attention earlier than they took care of it?

PHIL GARNER: What inning did Jaret Wright go out? Was that the fifth inning they made the change, in the fifth inning?

Roger made me aware of it. He said, "It's doggone bad, we need to get it fixed." I was going to go out and get it before Roger started his half inning, but I think what happened is McClelland, the home plate umpire, asked Gryboski, I think he asked him and that's when they repaired it.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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