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October 14, 2004

Albert Pujols

Scott Rolen


THE MODERATOR: We've got Scott Rolen and Albert Pujols. Please let me know to whom your question is addressed.

Q. Two-part question. Scott, if this were the middle of June, would you be sitting out right now? And, two, was it just kind of breaking the ice last night, open up things for you and got your confidence back for you and this is your end result?

SCOTT ROLEN: I'll answer number two (smiling). Number two is, you know, you get a little taste of success and you just, even if it's a hit and in a situation where you have to focus and concentrate, it takes success, it kind of builds some confidence. When you go out there and, you know, my third at-bat tonight I was able to get a ball that I wouldn't stand back real well on. I was able to take it, get the barrel on that ball and hit it out of the park. You build on that. You try to have a good approach and you try not to be result-oriented but sometimes you need a little success for confidence to take over.

Q. First part of the question, about your leg?

SCOTT ROLEN: I didn't remember what the first part was.

Q. Would you be sitting out if it were June?

SCOTT ROLEN: I don't know. I'm not going to worry about that. This is October, this is a special opportunity to go out there every day, and this is what I'm going to do.

Q. Albert, you hit three home runs in succession, three postseason games. First one, series against the Dodgers, yesterday to tie the game in the first inning, today to go ahead. This is the world's biggest stage. What do you think about all that?

ALBERT PUJOLS: It's great. I mean, you know, these last three home runs, this year has been great because I am putting my team up to win the games. It came at the right time, you know. Tonight is even bigger. Before you go over there in Houston, they're playing well, I think you need this win to kind of feel comfort, you know, in going over there and just try to keep going and keep winning, you know, the way we've been doing. But I just try, you know, good pitch, you try for the best part of the bat. That's what happened tonight, in LA and yesterday.

Q. Was it a fastball tonight?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I don't even remember (laughter). I just see the ball and hit it. That's my approach.

Q. Albert, were you a little surprised Brad Lidge wasn't out there to start the inning with the heart of the order coming up?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I don't know. I mean, Lidge has had success against us in the past three years, but, you know, they have a great bullpen. I think if we didn't score right there in the eighth inning, you know, they want to save Lidge for the ninth inning and bring him up. But like I said, you can't take things for granted. This is just the second game. Just need to keep batting and keep going. Hopefully, we'll go over there in Houston and play the game like we've been doing here.

Q. This is for Scott. This is the first time in club history for the St. Louis Cardinals to have back-to-back home runs in postseason play. How does it feel to be part of that?

SCOTT ROLEN: Well, it's a special honor. I don't think we're out here, you know, for individual accolades, so to speak. The numbers that matter the most are 6-4 tonight. Hopefully, those numbers when we go down to Houston can stay in our favor. I know this is the first time in the history that I've ever played in NLCS that we've been up 2-0, so I'll take that, too.

Q. Albert, the previous two at-bats looked like you were trying to go with it, get hits. But in your last at-bat were you specifically looking to drive the ball out of the ballpark?

ALBERT PUJOLS: No, I've been in this situation before, this year and the last three years. All you want to do -- everybody tries to be a hitter in that opportunity. I just want to get on base, whether it's hit by pitch, bunt, anything. Having the guys behind me, you don't have to be a hero on this team. I know the worst thing you can do is go out there, start swinging at everything in the dirt. You want to make sure you have a good pitch to hit, get a base hit, get on base to create something in the eighth inning. I know I got Scott (Rolen) and Jimmy (Edmonds) behind, Edgar (Renteria), if I can get on base there's a pretty good chance we can score a run. Because that's the way it started. We've been doing it all year long, he's been doing it all year long, driving me in. Like I said, it's a big win and you want to start something.

Q. Scott, can you talk about the mentality of a slump and breaking out of it? Do you go from at-bat to at-bat, forget about at-bats and focus on the next one?

SCOTT ROLEN: Ideally that's what you do. I mean, you know, we're human, too. Mentally, your wheels start grinding a little bit. You want to do maybe too much. You want to be in a situation where you can really break out of it in a big way instead of just taking good at-bats and trying to get a good pitch to hit, a lot of times when you're in slumps you swing at bad pitches, if you get something out over the plate, a strike you can hit, you're going to help yourself. Like I said, you try to go through everything and not be overly concerned with results. But, I mean, in a short series along the way, that's a big part of it. I think that's what helps you gain confidence. The biggest thing for me, I'm trying to approach -- I don't know what my postseason numbers are at this point, but I know that tonight I contributed to help us win the ballgame, and hopefully tomorrow I can contribute and help us win the ballgame - I guess we don't play tomorrow - but the next day I can hopefully contribute and help win a ballgame. I think those are the most important numbers. Again, I say that because I was 0-12 in the other series. If I was 15-15, I guess I'd say, "You look at the whole thing." Like Albert, let's look at the whole thing, Albert. I'm just going to look at the last two days.

Q. For each of you, how hard is it now that you're now 2-0 to not just celebrate tonight and know you have three going into Houston?

SCOTT ROLEN: I don't think you celebrate. I think you look at what's ahead of you. The biggest thing is not to look at what's behind you, so to speak, and not to look too far ahead of you but look at the game at hand, which is the first game I think Clemens is pitching that game. We're going to have our hands full that night, no doubt we're going to have to play well. I don't know if celebrate is the right word. I think that you look at the game and you feel that you came out and you did your job, and we did what we could at home to head to their home. So now they have home field advantage with three days, and we're going to do everything we can to play the best we can down there.

ALBERT PUJOLS: Scott answered everything. I mean, I don't think you can take things for granted or celebrate. This is not over. You have a great team over there. You need to respect them. They're going to be playing at their place where they played real good this year. Like I said, Clemens and Oswalt and Backe, you know, just want to make sure you take one game at a time and not try to be too greedy and just keep playing the game the way we know how to play.

Q. What does it feel like to have the accomplishments of Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I heard a lot about it but I don't compare myself with anybody. It's great. I respect that, that guys compare me with Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio. That's not my job. My job is serve the Lord and make sure I come in, help my team to win, and hopefully get wins like we did this year. We got a lot of wins, 105 wins, I say I help my team a lot, Scott, Jimmy, Edgar, those guys. Just come here, don't compare myself with anybody, just try to help my team out to win.

Q. Scott, you had a lot of hearty fans out there tonight sticking with you. What was it like out there?

SCOTT ROLEN: Obviously, the weather conditions weren't great at that time. All night they said it was going to quit raining, it never did. It picked up later in the game. If you have 52,000 people sticking it out there for you, I don't think it's too tough for us to stick it out and do the best we can. The fans here, you can't keep saying enough about the fans here. I'm kind of wasting my breath to reiterate what's already been said. It's probably the best city to play baseball, without a question. They're out there cheering and pulling through for us all the way through. When you're out there playing in a game like tonight, you kind of let the weather go.

Q. Your guys' defense has been there for you all season long. Can you talk about the couple of plays tonight, the play by Mike (Matheny) and by Reggie Sanders?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I think that this game changes a lot. You have to play different right now to win some games. Even right now in the postseason, I mean, if we were better in the year, we need to get even better right now because a mistake, they can make you pay, especially with a team like they are, like Houston. You want to make sure you're on your toes and make sure to make a play. That play right there, I just know the ball was wet a little bit. I know that it's been raining a lot. But I just want to make sure I get there, get the ball and just give it a good throw and try to get it out, not try and get a double-play, just try to get the ball to Scott. We've been playing very different ball. We just need to keep adding on and we have, I don't know how many guys, Mike, having Scott and Edmonds and Edgar, you know, in the middle of the field, you know, Gold Glovers, is getting even better.

Q. What did your teammates say to you when you really broke out of the slump tonight after the first home run and the second home run?

SCOTT ROLEN: "About damn time. Where the hell have you been? Are you on this team? What's going on?" (Laughter).

Q. Albert, is that what you heard? Is that what you said?

SCOTT ROLEN: No ingles.

ALBERT PUJOLS: No ingles. (Smiling) I didn't hear anything.

End of FastScripts...

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