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October 17, 2005

Chris Carpenter

Albert Pujols


Q. Albert, you've had a lot of big hits, this is the biggest one ever?

ALBERT PUJOLS: Definitely. I mean, one of the best closers out there, and got looking for a good pitch to hit which I did and just go back to St. Louis and hopefully we can keep going.

Q. What was your emotion the moment you made contact with the ball? Obviously you knew it was gone.

ALBERT PUJOLS: I just couldn't believe I did it. But like I say, it's just one win. It gives us the edge to go back to St. Louis, but you still have to win two games. You're going to have to face two of the best guys in the game, Oswalt and Clemens. We were in this situation before last year coming to our place, so hopefully we can do that again.

Q. What was the pitch?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I think it was a slider.

Q. You were looking for it?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I just was looking for the ball and that was it.

Q. Chris, from your perspective, can you talk about the change of emotion from one pitch to the next?

CHRIS CARPENTER: Unbelievable. You know, I'm sitting there thinking that we've got the best closer in the game on the mound, but we also have the best hitter in the game, also, at the plate. I was just telling Albert, I was sitting there thinking he's going to try and throw him sliders, and he got a good one to hit. It was an unbelievable feeling. As soon as he hit it, you knew it was gone. Obviously it's a huge hit for us, and like he said, we've got this one and now we have to go back to St. Louis and we've still got to win two more games?

Q. Could you take us through your thinking from two outs and you're sitting there, Eckstein has a terrific at-bat coming from behind in the count, and Edmonds; are you thinking just get it to me and give me a shot; they don't come through, you don't even get up?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I'm a big believer, you don't make 27 outs. I know I was the fifth guy coming up in that inning but I put my batting gloves on knowing that if I have the opportunity, I just did a little prayer that hopefully I might be the last guy to make the out. That's the attitude that I had out there, I was praying, just give me the strength, Lord, to get one at-bat and hopefully I can come through for my teammates. Earlier in the game I had some chances to drive some runs in and I didn't come through it. Couldn't be better than this. Eckstein had a great at-bat plus Jimmy, taking that pitch. They were pretty close, and he just drew that walk.

Q. I know Tony teaches you guys to play until the end but was there a moment or a second where you were wondering, getting nervous, thinking, God, this may be the end of our season?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I don't think so. Because I mean we came from behind big time during the year with the same team, Adam, Larry, Reggie. Like I said, it's not over until you make 27 outs and that's the attitude that we are keeping in the locker room with everybody and that's the attitude that we were doing all year long. That's why we win this game tonight because we believe in ourselves. Knowing that we've been struggling a little bit the first two games here, but, hey, it doesn't matter. We just got one win today and hopefully get our bats going.

Q. Albert and then Chris, I know you mentioned you were in the same spot last year; how much does it help to have been in the same spot last year going down 3-2 and you won it last year?

ALBERT PUJOLS: Well, we don't think about last year. This is this year and we can't take things for granted. We have to go to St. Louis and play our best baseball. Last year is over and hopefully we can do it again. But like I say, they have a great team out there and we need to respect them and play our best. So we don't even think about last year. We're thinking about Tuesday and hopefully getting another opportunity Thursday. But right now we're concentrating on Wednesday's game.

CHRIS CARPENTER: I feel the same way. I think that last year we came -- we were at home, we win two games, we're feeling good about ourselves and in a good situation. We come here and they beat up on us for three games. But we know when we go home with our fans, with the ability that we have, that we will never give up, and it showed like it did tonight, like we did tonight. It's 27 outs. We've got a game on, what, Wednesday, facing a great opposing pitcher, but we've got one going out for ourselves, too. I think that everybody is excited and ready to go back and we've got to win one game, and that's Wednesday and then we'll worry about Thursday.

Q. Lidge said that he threw you a slider and he felt good about it and thought he would come back with the same spot; is that what you were thinking?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I was just thinking about, don't swing at the same slider that I swang at the first pitch. Like I say, he's probably the best closer in the game besides Mariano (Rivera) right now. He has probably the best slider in the game. I just want to get a good pitch to hit and just put my best swing. And at the same time, don't try to be a hero, don't try to hit a three-run home run; just try to hit a base hit and give Reggie an opportunity where we can tie the game. I'm just glad the ball went out of the park.

Q. Chris, on the Berkman homer, can you talk about the balance between throwing your pitches and something to get him ideally to hit into a double play in that spot, versus working within this park and he has that swing that he can dump them in the Crawford Boxes like that?

CHRIS CARPENTER: My thought was getting a ground ball, and I had not thrown him a pitch down and away all night. I was throwing him in all night and the ball kept coming back a couple of times on the balls he got hits on. First and third there, I'm thinking, you know, make a good quality pitch down and away, and gets a ground ball. I made a good quality pitch down and away, and he hit it into the seats. So obviously it wasn't the result I was looking for. I was confident in the pitch, I was confident in the location, and the result wasn't what I wanted. Fortunately, the big man came back to hit a homer and win the game.

Q. Albert, when you went to the plate the final time, were you thinking that that could be your last at-bat this season?

ALBERT PUJOLS: You don't think that until you don't make the out. So I just feel really good about myself. I'm seeing the ball real good right now in the whole series. Just try and get a good pitch to hit. You can't think like that. You can't think negative in that situation. Always think positive and that's what I did. I know that if my guys give me the opportunity, I want to make that last out. If it's anybody that wants to make the last out, I wanted to make it, which I didn't. So I'm just glad that I came through for my guys and this guy, he's been battling all year long and throwing a great game out there for us. I know we didn't give him too much support with runs, but just the same way he feels about winning, I don't care how you do it.

Q. Albert, you guys didn't win the last two games. You were able to have some success on Lidge and came close to tying the game on a couple of occasions; did that give you confidence going against hip in the ninth tonight?

ALBERT PUJOLS: Are you talking about the first two games?

Q. Game 3 and game 4.

ALBERT PUJOLS: Obviously we're seeing the ball good against the guy. Like I said, he has the best stuff in that bullpen and that's why he's the closer and the numbers that he has put up in the past are good, and so going against a guy like that, don't try to do too much because maybe if you try to do too much, he's going to beat you with his best stuff. All you will need to do is just hopefully he can elevate the ball and just get a base hit. You can't think about the big home run. You have to beat him with base hits and try to hit the slider or fastball or whatever he throws you, just try to put it in play. Obviously maybe the third game put a great swing and yesterday made that out, but he had a great at-bat and that's it. You know, we just need to think about Wednesday and figure out how we can win again.

Q. Albert, I'm guessing that when Eckstein grounded that single into left field the crowd probably had one of those uh-oh moments. From your perspective, when you saw Eckstein get that base hit, how it changed your view of how the inning was going and your chances of getting to Lidge after he had struck out the first two hitters?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I was just thinking that Jimmy just hit a ball out of the park to tie the game or get a base hit. When I saw Edmonds getting a base hit, I was like, "Jimmy, you either hit it out or give me a chance." But we just wanted to win the game and it's a big game and doing it here where we've been struggling in the past and in the post-season and the first two games, this is huge for us. Like I say, this is not over. We just need to keep doing it and play our best the next two games.

Q. Albert, you had mentioned that you had not come through in earlier at-bats, but it wasn't an issue of confidence, I mean, you don't dwell on that, you just move forward to each at-bat and wipe the slate clean. You weren't particularly tense or upset; just new at-bat and try again?

ALBERT PUJOLS: Definitely, because it was early in the game. You know what the hitting coach told me, Hal McRae, he was just like, "Relax, you've got two more at-bats." Pettitte struck me out with a great cutter down and in. He told me, hey, you're going to have two more at-bats and obviously I had three more at-bats. I had a big chance right there in the ninth inning and, you know, I just wanted to come through for my teammates and hopefully get to St. Louis and keep the season going and hopefully don't make the last game of the season here, just be there in St. Louis and hopefully we can advance.

End of FastScripts...

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