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October 26, 2006

David Eckstein

Adam Wainwright


Q. Could you talk about have you ever had at any level, anytime two more unbelievable at-bats, back-to-back like that that were game turners?
DAVID ECKSTEIN: Not really. This is probably the biggest stage that you can be on, and having the opportunity to be in that situation, I was just hoping that I would find a way to put a good at-bat -- put the barrel of the bat on the ball. And fortunately I was able to do it and it felt good.

Q. When you hit the fly ball that Monroe almost caught, are you thinking he had a shot of it, what were you thinking?
DAVID ECKSTEIN: I was hoping it was going to find a little bit of dirt, grass out there. But the ball was kind of straightening out, and it kept going and it just reminded me, I played with a guy name Darin Erstad that made a catch like that at Yankee Stadium. It just barely got out of the reach of his own glove, hit off the tip.
But the key to that I think was Aaron Miles, who beat out that double-play ball. And that's one of the things that kept the inning going.

Q. You came out you almost hit a home run your first at-bat the other night, you wound up getting a single on a hit to third base. Did you feel a little bit like, hey, wait, this could be my night, coming out the way you did?
DAVID ECKSTEIN: I felt a lot better at the plate. Over the past couple of days, I said it after Game 2, I felt a lot more comfortable, a lot more patient, and I just needed to find some holes. And tonight, I don't know if it was the prettiest ones, the swinging bunt, and then Curtis slipping in center, and then the one just barely finding grass. It's nice to actually have a little luck involved.

Q. This is for both guys: The starting pitching throughout the season was something that was up and down, how important has that been to this team playing well here over this past three series?
DAVID ECKSTEIN: It's been a big key. Pitching is everything in this game, especially in the postseason. And for them to do what they have done, that's given us a chance to go out there and win games. Supp went out there tonight and battled, but kept it to three runs, and that's huge for us.
If you go out there and you give up extra runs here and there and you have a losing battle. But they never give up, they keep going and they do a great job. And then we have been fortunate enough to turn it over to our bullpen, who have been fantastic, and that's been the key to our success this postseason.
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I agree with him. Our starting pitching has been fantastic, and when they pitch great, it makes it a lot easier on the bullpen; when they're going deeper in the game, the bullpen is way more effective. It takes a load off -- they keep us in the game, our offense.

Q. David, you always hear that the fourth game is the most difficult to win, what do you think the mindset would be in the ballclub as you arrive at the park tomorrow?
DAVID ECKSTEIN: We're going to try to keep the same mindset and be as focused as possible. We're going to step up and get our game plan against Verlander and be ready to go.
We can't change anything. We've got to keep everything in order. We know this Tiger club, they're a tough club, and especially when they're facing the deficit they are, they're going to be coming out and fighting as hard as possible. And we need to match their intensity and match their focus so it will be a battle out there once again like tonight.

Q. David, Craig Monroe had a lot of complimentary things to say about you, but he also said he was playing in, because he didn't expect you to drive a ball like that. Do you get a kick out of showing guys you can hit balls like that?
DAVID ECKSTEIN: As long as they land.
It's funny, I played against Craig coming up through the Minor Leagues, so I've known him. He's a great ballplayer. He's had some little struggles getting to the Big Leagues, like we both did. And it's fun to see the success he's had, especially in this Tiger organization. He's come through huge. It's kind of funny, he probably knows me a little better than some of the other guys out there.
Yeah, I do hit a lot of balls that are short, but I was fortunate enough tonight this one got just out of his reach.

Q. I wanted to follow it up, were you surprised that they were so shallow or was part of it maybe a factor of the wet grass and the runner at second base?
DAVID ECKSTEIN: I think that's a huge factor. The grass in the outfield was very slippery and pretty much any hit that wasn't right at you would probably have scored Aaron out there. By coming in a little bit you cut down the angles and definitely I'm not known, especially in that left-center field gap, that's not where usually I hit the ball. So I think they were definitely playing percentages, and that's where I probably would have been playing, myself.

Q. David, your manager Tony La Russa said you had a big heart. It reminded me of the story of Leo Durocher, that talked about a guy named Eddie Stanky, that's where we heard the shot heard around the world in '51. He said, "If I had nine guys like that, I'd win the World Series."
DAVID ECKSTEIN: That's a nice compliment.

Q. How did you feel after that double and the run came in?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Obviously it was disappointing that he scored there. Coming into the game right there, trying to get a strike out, or out, however I can get an out without him scoring, and probably didn't throw the right pitch there. But I held him to one and that was the big key there. Once they did score the run, keep him right where they were standing and not get any further.

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