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October 5, 2006

Albert Pujols

Adam Wainwright

Jeff Weaver


Q. Albert, after first two games, you got two victories. What's all this mean for you and obviously leading this team into having to get one more win going into St. Louis?
ALBERT PUJOLS: Like always, we're coming, take one game at a time, go out there don't think, play one game at a time. Whatever happens, we go back home. We hopefully finish over there. But anything can happen. We got a day off tomorrow. We're going to come back Saturday. Just jump right on it.

Q. Albert, were you surprised, for, A, they pitched to you in that situation early in the game and secondly your thoughts on the rundown, what exactly you saw?
ALBERT PUJOLS: Well, like I told you guys the other day when I come to the park, I just think about what can I do to help my team out to win and hopefully get a good pitch today, put my best swing. In that situation I just wanted to hit a ground ball to second base and just do my job, get the guy over, because runs are really important in this game. Plus in the post-season, you know, seems like always the pitchers dominate the hitting.
And obviously I stay inside the ball, I put the ball to left field where we got one run, and I just got lucky on that run down that it went our way. I thought as soon as he throws to second, I'm done. But I wasn't going to give up.
And obviously that was it.

Q. Jeff, Bruce Bochy said he seemed to have you guys, Padres, had you on the ropes during the first inning. How big was it for you to get out of that inning and how big did that help you set the tone for the rest of the game for you?
JEFF WEAVER: Well, it was obviously a big situation. I had a tough time, especially in the first inning, and, you know, once you get through that, you kind of find yourself get in a nice rhythm. But you know, they stacked the lineup with a lot of left-handed hitters, obviously, because the success they've had this year against me.
So I knew I just couldn't give in in any situation. If I walked a guy, so be it. I just wanted to stay away from the extra base hits and things of that nature, and, you know, was able to throw a lot of quality breaking balls to keep these guys off balance.
I mean, they're always a team that scraps and puts the ball in play and tough to strike out. So to get that third out in the first inning and keep it a 0 was definitely huge.

Q. Jeff, how much has Dave Duncan helped getting your confidence back in getting through some of those situations?
JEFF WEAVER: It's been great. I mean, both him and La Russa since day one have showed their support and they both like the way I go about competing and just try to give the team a chance to win.
And you know, I started out a little slow when I got to St. Louis, but like I said, they always had my back and could work through some things. And Duncan kind of just worked with getting back to what my strengths were and finding myself as a pitcher and not trying to be somebody else and, you know, once it got back to that things started to click and we've had a great relationship.

Q. Albert, in the fourth, what did you get to hit? Was it a fast ball up?
ALBERT PUJOLS: Cutter. Same pitch I ground balled in the first inning to third base.

Q. Jeff, you mentioned the breaking ball today. How powerful a weapon is the curve ball for you when you have it going right, and what was the plan behind the pitching pattern today? Looked like you were using the curve ball to set up a lot of fast balls today also.
JEFF WEAVER: Yeah. That was kind of the game plan from when we went in and talked about it. We knew this team is a good hitting fast ball team and a lot of the guys had struggled with breaking balls. So you know, just getting ahead of the guys, you know, effective fast ball to get ahead and get them in a situation where they had to chase some breaking balls. Pretty much wanted them to hit a breaking ball if we could.
So I knew it was going to be an important pitch and was just able to execute when we needed it.

Q. Jeff, a couple of their hitters, particularly Gonzales and Walker, had pretty good numbers against you coming in. Were you conscious of that and of changing your pattern with them, anything that you did today that you might not have done in previous periods against them?
JEFF WEAVER: Seemed like all left-handers have a pretty good job against me this year. No, not really changing the game plan, but just using the pitches and the situation that we thought that they couldn't do damage with. You know, wanted to keep the ball in the park, some tough times with some homeruns through the course of the year.
So it was just more the fact of getting ahead of these guys to try to get them to have to hit an off-speed pitch.

Q. For Jeff and Adam both. Jeff, how big a difference is it for you to have a 2-nothing lead or 1-nothing lead? For Adam, how big a difference is it for you to protect that 2-1 lead rather than 1-nothing lead.
JEFF WEAVER: I think it's a huge step in the right direction to come into somebody else's park and win the first two, especially in the short series. So you know we're looking forward to getting back at home and just keep the pressure on them and try to make the series as short as possible. And starting pitchers we got, go out there and keep it close for a while so Mr. Wainwright can come in and do his work.
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Were you talking about being up 2-nothing in the game?
ALBERT PUJOLS: In the score?

Q. Yeah.
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: It allows me to be more aggressive, but at the same time just taking the same approach, either way. Any runner is a bad runner. So I'm just trying to get the outs as quick as I can, get them and as many as I can get until the game is over.

Q. Adam, you came into the game following two straight strikeouts by the left-hander. Were you surprised you came into the game at that time to face Barfield and then after he got the double, what went through your mind and what adjustment did you have to make to get the last four outs in the game?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I wasn't surprised. They told me I had the third hitter before the inning. The third hitter was the right-hander, and Tyler had the first lefties out. So I knew I had -- the third batter was a right-hander.
So the pitch he hit, it was a terrible pitch. Just came back. I was trying to throw a fast ball. Came back over the middle of the plate and he pulled it down the line. He's a good hitter.
Luckily I was able to get out of it.

Q. Adam, has the confidence level risen for you. There was so much made about the closing situation in St. Louis and for you guys to take that one-game lead and then be in that situation with the two-run lead, does that boost your confidence any at all?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I think we're all kind of riding high right now. I mean, we're a very confident team. We knew we were a great team. We just weren't clicking now. We're clicking and now is the right time to do it. We're enjoying ourselves and having a good time out there.

Q. Adam, over here. Just wondering, the bullpen struggled a little bit down the stretch. How important was this performance for the bullpen for confidence going forward?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: The bullpen's been put in a lot of tough situations this year. I think as a whole, we've done pretty good. I mean, I can point out a couple games here and there that we've struggled. But we have a tremendously talented team in the bullpen as well.
So I think put in the right situations, you know, I think we're going to come through a lot of the time, just because of the kind of arms we have down there.

Q. Albert, you're already post-season veteran in a lot of ways. I was wondering what you make of relying on so many rookies coming out of the bullpen and just the job they've done here in closing out these last two games?
ALBERT PUJOLS: I just thank God. You asked that question. We have a great arms in the bullpen. It's the same, making the choice, trusting theirselves, that they have the stuff. Tyler, Josh Kinney, Wainwright, young kids, but they know how to pitch. And this year obviously, like you say, you guys looked again that they had a back end but they helped us out all year long these guys coming in, outfitting the job as a closer. It's amazing the job that he has done.
But our bullpen is unbelievable. We do know we have young kids out there but they can pitch. And they got good stuff. And Jeff did a great job today. We knew that after he gave us six or seven strong innings, we can win that game because it come from the heat we have from our bullpen. Not me, Tony La Russa. He's the one that made the decision. Great job, and it feels great to get two wins.
MODERATOR: Thank you gentlemen.

End of FastScripts...

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