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October 10, 2002

Albert Pujols


Q. Are you concerned about any carryover effects from the incident last night?

ALBERT PUJOLS: Not really. I think those are some stuff that happens in baseball. Crudale, he's a young pitcher and just tried to make his pitch right there. When I looked at it on the tape, Kenny Lofton was leaning over, and it looked to me that that pitch wasn't even close. I'm glad nothing happened and nobody got ejected from the game.

Q. How different is this post-season from last year when you were a rookie?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I think a lot, to me, you know, because being here in my second year, to make it to the post-season is big for us, and for me. There's a lot of players, veteran guys in the big leagues that don't have the opportunity to make it even to a post-season. There are a lot of guys that play eight or ten years that don't even get that opportunity. I'm just blessed that I'm here with a great team, we have a great ballclub and we are having a lot of fun this year. We've been going through a lot of hard stuff all year long, so I'm just glad that we are here in the post-season where we want to be right now.

Q. Is there such a thing as a must-game and is this a must-game coming up?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I think it is to us, you know, because you always want to win that first game. But we didn't have it yesterday. We just forget about what happened last night and just try to win today. Then go into San Francisco and think that we have to play five more games and just try and win three-out-of-five games and this thing will be over. So today is a big game for us, but there's not any pressure at all. We're just going to go out there as a team and battle like we did last night, go out there and try to score runs and put runs early on the board.

Q. Do you think it will help in the carryover today that you guys put up some runs in the middle and later part of the game?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I think it does. Like I say, we've got a great lineup, to me, because -- and to our team, because we think that they did their damage early in the game and we tried to fight back. But as soon as we scored a couple of runs, they come back and scored two or three runs. We've just got to go out there today. Like I said, it's a new day and try to battle like we've been doing all year long.

Q. Finley is pitching in Game 3. What does he bring to the table for you, and what do you expect from Russ Ortiz?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I think Chuck Finley, you know, is a great pitcher, a great veteran pitcher. He's just going to try the best that he can out there. He's been in that situation before. He's been doing a great job for us. I'm pretty sure he's going to go out there and do his best. Ortiz, this is the first time we've faced him this year. We didn't face him at all this year, and it's almost like Curt Schilling last year, we only face him in the playoffs. We're just going to go out there on Saturday and try to do the best that we can and try to let our pitchers take care of the rest.

Q. Would you talk about the semi-brawl yesterday? Both managers are getting fined. Are you surprised at the way Baseball is handling this and has anybody come in to talk to your team about it?

ALBERT PUJOLS: Like I said before, there's some stuff that happened. I didn't see any of the managers talking about it. I was pretty much making sure, you know, nobody started fighting or anything. This is not the right place right now to do it. These are big games for both our teams. We can't afford to have anybody thrown out of the game or missing three or four games or whatever. Like I said, I'm glad nothing happened and I'm pretty sure it won't happen again. It could happen again, but I hope it doesn't happen in this series.

Q. You said you have not seen Ortiz yet. Is that to yours or his advantage because you have not faced each other?

ALBERT PUJOLS: Hey, who knows. (Laughs). Like I said, he's going to go out there, and in his mind, he's going to try to throw a great game. To us, we need to make sure we go out there ready to swing. He's a great pitcher and he showed this year that he can do it.

Q. If you were to go to San Francisco, down 0-2, would you still feel confident that you could come back and win the series?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I think going down 0-2, you're going down to San Francisco, and they still have to win two more times. This year we went to San Francisco and beat them three out of four. That's pretty good right there. We usually play better when we play on the road than here at home. The last three months, we were playing pretty good ball away and here, so like I said, if we lose today, this game, we just need to make sure we come back Saturday and just try to get a game and try to get two games over there and bring the series here. To us, we've got a great team right now. Even if we're down 0-3, you can still get hot and win four games. You never know what can happen in this game.

Q. Are you able to enjoy this post-season a little bit more than your rookie season?

ALBERT PUJOLS: A lot. Because last year, we clinched on the wild-card and we didn't get to drink champagne or anything and this year, I got the opportunity to do it twice. Right now, you know, in the Championship Series, this is a big series for us. We have a good team and good guys in the clubhouse like we did last year. Having people like Chuck Finley and Scott Rolen, Jeff Fassero, all of those guys helping us out, it's always big having those veteran guys helping those young guys like me, like Jim Edmonds and Tino Martinez. It's a blessing for us this year, after all of the things that we went through.

End of FastScripts...

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