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October 10, 2009

Andre Ethier


LA Dodgers 5
St. Louis Cardinals 1

Q. Andre, what did it mean to you to perform this well on such a big stage?
ANDRE ETHIER: It's nice, but you know, any time you contribute, I guess, if Joe puts you in a certain spot in the lineup, he's counting on you all year to show up and step up and perform well.
With Manny out during the season, it was really a task and an effort that he called upon me and Matt and some of the young guys to grow and learn a lot about ourselves. He kept sticking us right there in the middle of the lineup to be the ones who showed up and made this team run. To show up now as you said in the playoffs, to contribute and be a main guy, that's looking -- to be up there and doing damage, it's nice to be able to come through.

Q. How did you and your team feel about being the so-called underdogs in this series even though you had the best record in the league, the best batting average in the league, and the lowest ERA in the league?
ANDRE ETHIER: First, Joe reminded us, you guys didn't win 95 games for nothing. You guys are a good team. Of course the odds were stacked against us, starting at home against Carpenter and Wainwright. We were confident coming in knowing that we had the home-field advantage and we obviously play well there. We wanted to knock one of those guys off, and to get both.
Like Joe said earlier, we got lucky there in the second game by having a few breaks go our way, and that gave us a lot of confidence coming in. To say that we'd be sitting here right now after three games, I don't necessarily know if anyone would have agreed with you on the team, but we knew that we had a good shot of winning, confident.

Q. Was there any disappointment that you didn't hit a single tonight to hit for the cycle?
ANDRE ETHIER: Casey Blake was yelling at me there in the ninth inning when I was running out there, he said, if you wouldn't have struck out or popped out to left, you would have hit for the cycle.
I said, well, I'll take the victory if we can get it tonight. You know, that's individual stuff. I don't think that necessarily comes into play right now when we're chasing wins and championships.

Q. The momentum you had from Game 2, did that carry into this one, or did you sort of restart that momentum yourself in this game?
ANDRE ETHIER: I think it definitely did carry over, but the way we showed up there in that first inning and really set the tone and scored a run there and let these guys know that we're here to play and we're not just going to roll over because we're in a different environment, visiting environment, with the crowd and everything in it.
I guess the way Padilla showed up and set the tone there, too, with the way he pitched, we showed them that we are ready to play. I think the momentum from that Game 2 really stepped in there once we put a few runs on the board.

Q. You guys are going to have a little bit of time off before you face your next opponent, before you know who it is. Is time off a good thing or a bad thing? How do you keep that momentum and what's your approach for that?
ANDRE ETHIER: I think it's both good, but also I think bad more, just because we just off a season of, whatever, 162 games, and the most days off I think we had was during the All-Star break for three days. To have a span we're going to have right now, guys are going to have a chance to stay away from the game and be away from it, which can be bad. But at the same time, we can really prepare and take a look at our opponent, whoever it's going to be, and learn a lot from the series by watching it and know what we can -- some advantages we can get by watching the game.

Q. What's the most important thing Joe Torre has taught this team, particularly this time of year?
ANDRE ETHIER: Too much. With a young team, or I would say with a young corporation that we have, everyone knows we have a lot of veteran leadership, but I guess we have a young corporation that goes out there and contributes much of the time.
Once the season was over he stated bluntly, you win this time of year by playing fundamental baseball and making outs when you have to, and picking up ones when you have to, and getting guys over and all that stuff, just playing catch and playing good baseball, take care of the baseball, and most of all, have fun. This is your time, enjoy it.
Going back to that Game 2, we played all nine innings and we played all 27 outs. If there was a pitch, an out left in the game, we still have a chance, we're going to play through it, and that motto definitely came through during that second game.

Q. You've kind of made a name for yourself with walk off home runs and walk off hits this year. Did you find hitting one in the third inning was a little bit more fun tonight?
ANDRE ETHIER: Yeah, it's just as fun. It's a little more meaningful just for the case that it is the postseason, and it was definitely a swing where we went up three runs there quick and like you said, showed these guys that we're ready to play and we're ready to go. Those walk off hits during the season were something where I turned to Donny afterwards, we were sitting in the cage one day, and just said, whatever, the fourth, fifth one, it was almost like a dream that one time where I just swung and I couldn't believe that I did it again. That aside, third inning home run in the postseason, I'll take that any day.

Q. You've had such a hot bat for this team, and your teammate, Manny, has struggled. What does it mean for you guys when you see him in this clinching game finally do well at the plate, look comfortable at the plate? How important is that?
ANDRE ETHIER: You're not going to hold Manny down for long. That's something we knew. It's our job for the guys around him to pick him up and be a teammate like we are and pick up the slack when he's not. And for him to get hot like he showed this last couple games means a lot. He's definitely still the heart of that lineup, which if guys produce in front of him or around him and score a lot of runs, we're going to win a lot of games with that happening.
You know, Manny, like I said, he's not going to be held down too long. He's going to figure it out and get the job done. He's been a good hitter his whole career, and I don't think that's going to stop just the last couple weeks or whatever that it's happened.

Q. What does winning this series mean to you?
ANDRE ETHIER: We're one more -- we get to go to the next series and be one series closer to the World Series. First meeting of the year, spring training, Joe sits down, the first words out of his mouth are, "Our goal is to win the World Series from this day forward moving on." We put all these games in the season, 162 behind us, we put these three behind us, and we're that much closer to achieving that goal. This series behind us, this win, this clinch, just closer to our goal, which we stated day one of spring training, which was win the World Series.

Q. Of your team, the Phillies and the Cardinals, your team was really the only one that had to play meaningful games in the last weekend to nail down a division title. Do you think that helped your team be a little sharper at the start of the series than those other clubs at the start of their series?
ANDRE ETHIER: I don't know if you watched us play, we weren't too sharp there over the last couple games of the season. But I think it got guys with that fight and that attitude and got them geared up to let them know that you don't win these games here, the last couple games of the season, these games in the postseason, you're going home.
You know, when that reality starts setting in, you put all that hard work in like we did all season and get a big lead and all of a sudden it starts slipping away and you're staring at possibly going home for all that hard work. I think it really was a big gut check for these guys to know that these games coming down in the postseason mean a lot. Every pitch means a lot, and let's not let all that hard work we did go to waste.

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