October 26, 2004
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI: Game Three
Q. I think in many ways this was your team's most well rounded and complete game maybe on this run you guys have been on in the postseason. You did make the defensive plays and showed you can play National Big League baseball style. Is that especially gratifying, besides that you won?
TERRY FRANCONA: To be very honest with you, the first two games, although there was a bunch of errors, they ended up in wins, and that's what we set out to do and what we set out to do tonight. But coming to their ballpark under different circumstances, like you play National League style, I thought we really played a very good game tonight. We caught a break in the third inning, when they had the mishap on the bases, and not only do we come out of that inning unscathed but we tack on a run the next inning. Billy Mueller bounced back and played third base the way he did, which is not surprising, but we played a very, very good game. We played good. We knew we would have to play good.
Q. Could you have asked for more out of Pedro (Martinez) tonight? I know you had a lot of confidence, was this as good as he is?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, he's had some history now being pretty good. This wasn't his first good game. I thought early on he was having a little bit of a tough time with his command getting the feel of the game. But once it seemed like he got out of that one inning and found his change-up, and used his cutter, and used his fastball, he got in a groove and started pitching like he can pitch.
Q. 20 of the last 21 batters were retired by Pedro and the bullpen. Can you comment on that?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I thought our defense played well, but it goes back to what we were saying about Pedro. Once he got into a groove, he really threw the ball well, he looked confident. Mike Timlin getting the ball and throwing it and throwing any pitch he wanted to. Foulke came in, and Walker does what he does with a misplaced fastball. That's why you want to spread the game out, so if someone makes a mistake it doesn't cost you the game.
Q. Talk about how big of a play Manny's (Ramirez) throw was in the first inning.
TERRY FRANCONA: I'd love to (laughter.) First of all he kept his feet, and then after (laughter.) I'm laughing, that was a big play; big, big play. I thought Jason Varitek on the receiving end did a great job, stood there nonchalantly and then put the tag on. There were 50-some thousand people screaming, going crazy. Bases loaded and we come out of that inning not giving up anything. It was a big boost for us, great play.
Q. You've been talking so much about taking this a game at a time, but how difficult will it be in the next 24 hours to not think ahead about the precipice this team is on at this point?
TERRY FRANCONA: When you start using words I don't understand it doesn't make it that hard.
Q. The edge, you know.
TERRY FRANCONA: Thank you. You know what? I think we got here the way we did because of the way we approached it. I won't have any trouble. We know who we're playing, where we're playing, how good they are. Tomorrow will be the most important game of the year for us, just like today was. And I think that's our best way to approach it, just make sense to do it that way. It won't be hard for me at all.
Q. Does being down 0-3 in the ALCS to the Yankees help you keep your perspective now that you're up 3-0 on the Cardinals?
TERRY FRANCONA: I like to think I had perspective the whole way. Believe me, it wasn't fun being down 0-3. We thought the only way to come back was to approach it the way we did. That's why we continued to approach it like that. I think that's how we'll continue to be successful. I think it's the right way to do things. I think it's the only way.
Q. Coming off the high of coming back against the Yankees, realistically do you see yourself in this position three games to none against the hitting machine and the scoring machine that the Cardinals presented to you before the series started?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I understand the question, but I think you're missing the point of what I'm trying to say. We won't get ahead of ourself that much. In Game 1 we wanted to win Game 1. Once that's over, you move on to Game 2. Once I get done talking about this game, this game is in the past. We'll show up and play tomorrow with different pitchers, different set of circumstances and try to win again. Our only goal is to try to win tomorrow.
Q. I hate to harp on the 3-0 thing --
TERRY FRANCONA: But you're going to anyway.
Q. But I'm going to anyway. Let me ask you about the Cardinals, knowing how hungry you were when you were down 0-3 to the Yankees now they're down to you. Can you talk about what happens to a baseball team when that happens. Now it's do or die for them tomorrow. They're very dangerous now.
TERRY FRANCONA: I agree with that. That's why we'll show up tomorrow and -- has anybody ever seen me play as a player? You can understand why I would never be overconfident (laughter.) We'll show up, we know we're playing a good team. We'll just try to win tomorrow. I think the one difference is our guys enjoy playing regardless. We know we're going to have our hands full tomorrow, we fully expect that. We still think we can win tomorrow, that's our goal.
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