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October 13, 2004

Albert Pujols


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Albert Pujols.

Q. Most people who think of the Cardinals and have not seen them think of the Cardinals as power. Tonight you did it all; small ball, broken bats, power. Is that something you guys take pride in?

ALBERT PUJOLS: Oh, yeah, I don't think you've been watching the plays. We live with the long ball, we do the little things like stealing base, a lot of broken bats, get the guy over, you see Mike (Matheny) right there put a bunt down. I think that was the key of the game. Cedeno did his job, that kind of opened the inning. You don't have to live with the long ball. When you're in the postseason, you want to make sure you do the little things, get the guy over when you need to, get him in, like I did in the first inning. Get a good pitch in, put the baseball on the bat.

Q. You're at first base now and seem much more comfortable. Has that helped you with your game this year?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I don't think so, you know. Like I say the last three years, wherever Tony (LaRussa) needs me to play, that's what I'm going to do. I been playing first base the last three years. I think 105 games, something like that. I don't remember. I'm just going to go out there, do my job, whatever I need to do. I have one of the best infield coaches, Jose Oquendo, helping me out. Try to get better at it. Spring training, for my infield to win a gold glove, I have to make sure I do at least 85 percent, 90 percent where they need to feel comfortable to throw the ball on the ground, if you make a diving catch or whatever, I need to make sure I pick it up.

Q. How important was it tonight that Woody (Williams) didn't panic and that he gave up two two-run homers, but he had two other perfect innings?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I don't know. I think he's been in that situation before. He's a warrior. He's going to go out there and make his pitch. I know that he made a couple of mistakes, that he threw the ball where he didn't want to. But he's a veteran guy. He's been there, in that situation before, and I just thank God we came out with the win. So we still have a great team over there on the other side. They're going to come tomorrow, be ready to play. We want to make sure we're going to play, too.

Q. How have you had such tremendous success against Backe in the few times you've seen him?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I don't know. I can't explain. I just try to do the same thing I did all year long, just make sure I get a good pitch to hit. Sometimes you're going to have some good success against a guy like that and sometimes you're going to struggle, like I do with a lot of guys in the National League. So I don't know. I just try to see the ball. I don't try to change my program or anything that I do, just go out there, play hard, give 100 percent, after I cross that white line, and hopefully help my team out to win.

Q. How important is it for your offense to make a statement like it made in the sixth inning with everybody contributing and scoring as many runs?

ALBERT PUJOLS: Well, if you compare both of the teams, I think we're almost the same. They got some guys that can hit the long ball. We have a lot of guys, like I say, that hit the long ball. Things started with Reggie Sanders, the hit up the middle. Little things like that. So, I mean, it's big for us to come up with the win, with this offense we have. But at the same time, like I said before, we don't have to win with the long ball. In the playoffs, it's not like the season that you can make up some games here. You want to make sure the best you can to win games. This is real big for us, winning Game 1 here. We just need to keep at it and going.

Q. Why has this team been so good with two outs and runners in scoring position?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I don't know (smiling). I just think you got some great veteran guys in the team that we didn't have in the past. I think Larry Walker, Jim Edmonds, Reggie Sanders, Tony (Womack), Rolen, Edgar (Renteria). These are guys that have been in the World Series before, they've been in this situation. They did it all year long. It's carrying over to the playoffs. That's what you need to do, you need to get some big hits like that with two outs.

Q. It seems like every time you have a big inning, Larry Walker is right in the middle of it. Can you talk about what he brings, whether it's a home run or blooper over the middle?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I mean, how can I explain? You guys seen this guy almost for, I don't know how many years, he got in the league 14, 15 years. The numbers he put up in the league, in Montreal, Colorado, they talk about the guy, he's a winner. He's got speed, defense, good arm, he can hit. He can hit the ball anywhere out of the park. Like I say, it was a big pick-up for us, we just need it, like I said, we need to keep going. I'm pretty sure he's going to keep going. If we can stay healthy, the team that we have, I think we have a pretty good chance.

Q. Talk about having been down twice in this game but maintaining your cool and coming back. How important is that?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I think that's one of the biggest things this year that we've done as a team. I think the last couple of years we didn't get a lot of hits and we didn't come back, you know, when we were losing early in the game. Last year when we needed that big hit, we didn't get it. But this year it seems like what you do in the season is carrying into the playoffs. We came from a lot of games behind. I remember eight, nine, seven runs against the Cubs, against a lot of teams. This is real big when you get a big hit like that, coming out from behind. Like I said, it's a big win, you have the fans here, you have the fans going, when you start something going. They took the lead a couple of times and we came back and added some more in the sixth inning.

End of FastScripts...

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