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10/15/05 9:10 PM ET

Surprise start in center field

Burke pleased that Garner gave him the nod for Game 3

Astros rookie Chris Burke is providing daily commentary to MLB.com throughout his team's postseason run. Burke breaks down Houston's exciting 4-3 win on Saturday afternoon.

I was obviously surprised when I saw my name in the lineup in center field for Game 3. I took it as a vote of confidence from Phil Garner that he wanted to see me in the lineup. He's just been pressing the right buttons all year long, so when I saw my name in the lineup, I said, "All right, I'll just have to try to help the team win in center today, and hopefully I'll play well."

I knew I had been swinging the bat well, but Mike Lamb has been swinging the bat very well himself and he's got great numbers against Matt Morris. So I thought, "It wouldn't surprise me a bit if I didn't play today."

I didn't think about other angles. When I saw my name in center, I was definitely surprised at first, but I was grateful to get the opportunity to try to help us.

The atmosphere on Saturday was incredible. The fans provide so much excitement to the game. I can honestly say I don't think I've ever wanted an out more than I wanted it there in that last out against David Eckstein. We obviously had our best guy out there on the mound, Roger Clemens, and he was able to get it done like always.

From here on out, every game's huge. Sunday's Game 4 will be another big game. Hopefully we can just keep having good at-bats. Our bullpen has been outstanding. Chad Qualls was absolutely great in Game 3. Hopefully, we can give our pitchers some runs and allow those guys in the bullpen to finish it off.

A lot of us were watching the Notre Dame-USC game when we got back to the clubhouse after the game, and there was a lot of yelling when USC won. That was a huge ribbing game. If Notre Dame wins, you can bash on Morgan Ensberg and Jason Lane, both of whom went to USC. If USC wins you can bag on Brad Lidge, who went to Notre Dame.

We're a loose bunch, and we've got a lot of chemistry on this team. We've got a lot of guys in here that love college football, so a lot of us were into that game. It shows how close knit we are, and also how we can divert our minds from pressure of the game and focus on everything else.

Tennessee football is usually my outlet, but they're actually the greatest source of frustration for me at the moment. Hopefully, they can get a win next week and I can go back to using them as a release.

Chris Burke's diary appears as told to Alyson Footer, a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.