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October 21, 2006

Tony La Russa


Q. What can you say about Reyes insofar as, A, what you were expecting from him tonight, best case scenario, and whether or not he exceeded your expectations?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, you try to be fair. We actually had a coach's dinner last night and each coach put down what they thought he would do. And there was actually two coaches that they said into the eighth inning. I thought if he went five or six with low runs that he had done a great job. So get into the ninth inning, that is -- but you saw the Anthony Reyes that we've seen for the prior two years. He doesn't scare. He's got great composure and he gets it rolling. He's got good weapons.

Q. Obviously you didn't have much choice in the matter, the way your rotation was lined up, but you have to be pleased now after this, to now have your next best three pitchers going in the next three games?
TONY LA RUSSA: I hope the next three pitch as good as the first one. We make no secret of it. If we were going to win a game in New York, it would be nice to win six.
Anthony Reyes and Verlander pitching in Detroit. You play the game, and that's the beauty of it. There's no script, and some day this might happen. But we thought we'd take a shot tonight, we're not going to take anything for granted. We still know who we're playing and who we have to hit against the next three days.

Q. Who do you think was more surprised to see that ball out over the plate, you or Albert Pujols in the third inning?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, you know, if I've got an arm like Verlander or with the pitcher, the catcher or the manager, what do you do the first time you face them? What do you do the next time? He walked them. The guy behind him got two hits tonight. And Jim is very aware that -- in fact, both of guys behind him got two hits. That's part of our strength.
Albert is very dangerous, but these two guys, when they're swinging, and they're swinging well, now, be careful putting them on base, because it will lead to runs, I think.

Q. Why was Reyes so effective?
TONY LA RUSSA: He just got more aggressive. The first inning, he's feeling his way through it, and he got a couple of cheap base hits. Dunc had a conversation with him between innings. He wanted him to feature his fastball and work after that. He has a good fastball. He did a great job locating. There were a couple of times that Yadier showed his creativity. He might been thinking off base in the back of his mind. Just real good coordination between the pitcher and catcher, and just being more aggressive.

Q. Two years ago Pujols, Edmonds and Rolen combined to six in 45 bats in the World Series, no homers, one RBI; tonight a great performance. Do you think two years ago helped that at all?
TONY LA RUSSA: Oh, boy, I don't have an answer to that. They were playing so well two years ago and we got stopped. Face a young man like this today, you certainly don't expect five hits like that. This guy is really, really good. I don't know. I just take it for what it is. They had a good night tonight. We had a win. A lot ahead of us.

Q. How close was it to being Jason Marquis in Game 1 and not Anthony Reyes?
TONY LA RUSSA: I don't know. We had Jason on the first playoff roster, but as time elapsed, he had value as a spot starter or reliever, and as time elapsed and we got into these seven games, he started more recently, we decided it was more reasonable for Anthony than to challenge Jason. It's tough because Marquis has been an important part of our club for three years. That's one of those things not fun to make that decision.

Q. I know it was a smaller thing earlier in the third inning, but can you talk about calling a hit-and-run with Taguchi up, and how important when you consider how the rest of the inning went? I believe he had to throw his bat at that ball and get it on it and not having Molina running against Ivan Rodriguez.
TONY LA RUSSA: It's a tribute to the guy we're facing. We did not feel we were going to score runs if we were going to have to accumulate hits. So you try to be aggressive. When you're facing a challenge like that, if you sit around and wait, I mean, most times it doesn't work.
We didn't catch a break because So has that ability. He has a great curveball. How he put it in play is only because he has terrific bat control. And if the guy gets to second base, Verlander has to work more carefully to Eckstein, Duncan and both. One of the biggest hits tonight was Duncan's to get us on the board.

Q. Who taught Anthony to wear his hat that way?
TONY LA RUSSA: I guess I heard he's right behind me and that will be a great question for him. I'm not a real style master, but that style is not that attractive (laughter.)
He's a good looking guy, but I think he'll explain it to you. It has something to do with his concentration and focus. I don't think it's going to be copied widely by the kids of America.

Q. In terms of wackiness, how wacky was the play when Inge backed up on the ball? He was charged with an error for obstructing.
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I thought that's, to me, that was Cardinal baseball. Second and third and Jim Edmonds got a great jump. All of a sudden the ball hops up on Inge. If the ball stayed down he would have made an out. But we caught a break on the hop, and he had to rush it and it led to what it led to.
So I think more than anything else it was just good base running by Jim, and then Scott knew he was going, he came around like a freight train. But just took advantage of a break.

End of FastScripts...

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