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October 8, 2002

Kirk Rueter


Q. Is it good to be back home? You've had a lot of success here.

KIRK RUETER: Yeah, it's always good to be back home, just to get to sleep in my own bed and go see my shed and get to see all of the family and friends that I don't get to see for eight months out of the year of the baseball season. I always enjoy coming back.

Q. How do you account for your success pitching in this ballpark?

KIRK RUETER: I don't know. It's just one of those things. It's nothing to do baseball-wise. I just come and I feel comfortable here. Like I said, I enjoy being around the people that I've known my whole life. But as far as trying to pinpoint why I've had success, I don't know. I've faced great Cardinal teams over the years, even when I was with Montreal. They have hit balls hard at people and helped me out. I can't pinpoint one thing or another why I've pitched good here.

Q. How have the ticket requests gone for you, for family to this game?

KIRK RUETER: As many of the guys are not using them, I got to go around today. I just got word from our traveling secretary to get as many guys as I could, if they will give me their tickets, I can have them. I have to see how many friends I've got on the team and how many tickets they have got. (Laughing).

Q. After the big win last night, have you guys started to focus on St. Louis? Are you still hyped about beating Atlanta?

KIRK RUETER: I think after we got a little celebration done after the game last night, the same as what we did where we beat Houston the second to last day, the focus goes right to the next opponent. We have a veteran ballclub and everybody knows what we have to do to try and go on to the next level. So as soon as the game was over and the celebration was over, everybody was back going and ready to come to St. Louis and play this game.

Q. What is the difference between this Giants team and some of the other Giants teams that have not gotten this far?

KIRK RUETER: I think this year, we had a lot of ups and downs. We had guys get hurt, and like I said, we are a veteran ballclub. I think that really showed the last month and a half of the season. Every game that we played from about the middle of August on was a playoff game for us because we were about -- I think the most we got was four-and-a-half out from L.A., and that's a lot of games to make up when they were playing great baseball and we knew we had to play great to catch them. You know, it's just one of those things where we carried it over, I think, into the playoffs, too. We got down 2-1, but nobody quit and we knew what we had to do. The guys went out and got it done and that's what we've been doing for the last month and a half to try to beat L.A..

Q. Since the start against Atlanta, have you gone back and looked at the tape? Are there any adjustments you need to make or do you think you pitched well and they just got to you?

KIRK RUETER: I'm going to have games like that. Like I said after that game, I'm not a big strikeout pitcher. I'm going to give up balls that are hit. Like I said, too, I would like to take away the two home runs I gave up. But other than that, I'm going to have balls that get hit and I let my defense play. In that game, the balls just found the holes, so I'm not going to try and change too much going into this start. Just chalked it up as one of those games that I have throughout the year and I'll be ready to go tomorrow.

Q. Would you talk about the Cardinals lineup and how difficult it is to face?

KIRK RUETER: It's extremely difficult. I pitched against them once this year, but I've watched them, and being the hometown team, I always pay pretty close attention to them. They have got just a great mixture. They have got lefties, righties, they hit with pop. You put Edmonds and Pujols and Tino Martinez in the middle of the lineup, and then Vina starting off, I think the key is keeping guys off base in front of the big guys coming up. But they can beat you in a lot of ways, and they have shown it. So I'm just going to have to go out and try to make my pitches and let my defense play.

Q. Did you have a favorite Cardinal growing up?

KIRK RUETER: Ozzie Smith and Willie McGee were my two guys growing up. I loved watching them play. It was a big thrill when I finally got to face them, pitch to them and I got to meet them personally. Willie has helped out with the Giants now, in spring training a couple of years, and I've gotten to talk to him. It's always a big thrill to meet guys that I grew up, idolized.

Q. What's it like playing for Dusty and what have you learned from him?

KIRK RUETER: I love playing for Dusty. He's incredible, great player's manager, never gets down, always upbeat and always keeps you alive. He makes you feel like you're the best thing going. I think that's a big key, especially over 162 games, there's so many up-and-downs, and every day he's positive. I think even this year, it really showed. He went through a lot in the off-season, dealing with his cancer. But he came into spring training ready to go. I know there was days that he was dragging a little bit because he was not 100%, but he never let us see it and always kept us upbeat and kept us focused on what we were trying to accomplish. He's been awesome to play for.

Q. You've thrown some big games, but will this be the biggest game of your career because of where you guys are at in the playoffs and because you are home?

KIRK RUETER: I answered that question last week, too, and I said this will be it until maybe next week. I think every game is pretty big. And like I said, I think as a team, we felt like we were playing playoff games for the last month and a half, so as a starter, every time I went out in the last eight or nine starts, you felt like you had to win that game, and you were watching to see what the Dodgers did. So really, I don't think I'm going to do anything more or anything different than what I've done the past month and a half.

Q. You know Cardinal fans and you've had success here, but what are your thoughts on facing this crowd in a playoff atmosphere?

KIRK RUETER: Oh, yeah, it's a great baseball town. I grew up coming here all the time. I know what it's like and they are great fans. You know, once I get out there, even when I'm at home pitching, I try and block out the crowd and what's going on around me, and try to focus on just hitting Benito 's glove. That's my whole game, is location. So I try not to let anything outside of that get to me. I just try and block it out.

End of FastScripts...

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