October 17, 2004
HOUSTON, TEXAS: Game Four
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Carlos Beltran.
Q. You're now tied with Barry Bonds for the postseason home run record with 10 fewer at-bats. Can you describe the zone you're in right now.
CARLOS BELTRAN: Well, I just feel great. It feels great just to be able to do something that Barry Bonds did. But at the same time, I'm just going out there and trying to do my job. I'm not thinking about hit home runs, I'm thinking about doing things differently. I'm just thinking about, "Just put the ball in play, see the ball, hit the ball," and good things are happening to me right now. I'm seeing the ball good. I have a good approach at the plate. I'm not trying to do too much. I'm just relaxed, and being relaxed on the plate, patient, feels good.
Q. The ones you hit in the first three games of this series were important on their own, but this one wins the game. What are the different feelings between those and one that makes a big difference?
CARLOS BELTRAN: I think all of them feel great, just being able to contribute, being able to help the team. But this one is more special because this one gives us the lead. I knew it was in the eighth and we also knew that Lidge was going to come into the game and face a good part of the lineup for them. But he did a great job, and we were able to win the ballgame.
Q. How satisfying is it for you to - I mean everybody knows who you are - but how satisfying is it for you to perform on this stage, on a national stage?
CARLOS BELTRAN: Well, as a player, this is what you look for, being in this situation. I really thank God; he has given me this opportunity just to be in the situation, being able to contribute, being able to help the team. There's no better feeling than this. This is right here and right now, it's a dream come true for me.
Q. The ball you drove out, the pitch was almost at your shoe tops. Were you looking for a low pitch or is that just a function of how well you're seeing the ball?
CARLOS BELTRAN: Well, I'm seeing the ball good but I just have to say that I knew who I was facing; I was facing Tavarez. He's a guy that has a real good sinker, real good slider and also has a split. After I took two in the back door, I knew that he probably was going to be able to throw another one, so I just told myself, "Just relax, stay back and try to put the ball in play." That's what I did. I saw the ball and I hit it with the fat part of the bat. When I saw that ball just leaving the ballpark, I just felt great.
Q. The series is tied now. Do you think there's more pressure on you guys tomorrow to take care of this at home before it goes back to St. Louis?
CARLOS BELTRAN: I got to be honest with you, we don't feel pressure at all, man. We feel good. After we were two behind, we were coming home. We knew playing in front of our crowd was going to be a little bit easier for us and we really play well in this ballpark. Just being able just to get back and tie the series, I think the pressure is with them.
Q. Have you ever felt this locked in before in your career?
CARLOS BELTRAN: Well, if I was, I don't remember, you know. I think this is the first time probably that I felt like this. But at the same time, I just feel happy that I'm not putting pressure on myself, I'm not trying, I'm just letting things happen.
Q. George Brett said when he was near that .400 season that the ball looked like a beach ball when he was in a groove.
CARLOS BELTRAN: It still looks like a baseball for me. I haven't gotten to that point yet (laughter). I'm just seeing the ball good. I'm just waiting for the pitcher just to release the ball. Sometimes as a player you get in a tendency before the pitcher releases the ball you start jumping. Right now I'm not jumping, I'm just letting the ball get to me and I'm recognizing the pitches good.
Q. Given what you guys accomplished in the last eight weeks of the season, at this point, whether it's your postseason kind of play or whatever, does anything that this team accomplish amaze or surprise you at all?
CARLOS BELTRAN: Doesn't amaze me because we got the talent to do this. I think we have a lot of good players in our ballclub. It's a dream for me being able to play around guys like Bagwell, Biggio, Clemens, Berkman. It's really helping me a lot just to be a better player. At the same time, hitting in the second spot, having Bagwell behind me, I'm seeing good pitches to hit. So I just have to say that it doesn't amaze me in the point where we are because we got a good team.
Q. Basically are you just trying to see it and hit it, or are you trying to think along and guess where the pitch is?
CARLOS BELTRAN: I'm trying to see the ball and hit the ball. I'm not guessing at all. I'm just concentrating all on the baseball. Good things are happening to me right now. I just feel good at the plate. There's a moment in the season where you feel upbeat, and there's a moment when you feel lost. Most of the time when you feel lost it's because you start guessing and not trusting your hand, your ability. Right now I really trust my ability, I trust my hands and I'm trusting in myself.
Q. Are there times during this series where you felt like you and Pujols were kind of going back and forth?
CARLOS BELTRAN: Pujols is a great hitter, man. I don't compare myself with Pujols. I'm trying to do my part; he's trying to do his part. Good things are happening to me and good things are happening to him.
Q. Your 2, 3, 4 hitters today are 10-for-12 for getting on base. How much of your success is hitting second in that stream?
CARLOS BELTRAN: Well, I just feel comfortable hitting second. Having Biggio in front of me, having Bagwell behind me, I think it's great. I have a lot of protection. It feels good. They're pitching to me and I'm trying to take advantage of that.
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