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October 20, 2004

Jim Edmonds

Albert Pujols


THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds.

Q. Jim, your home run today sends us to Game 7 of the LCS tomorrow.

JIM EDMONDS: What do you think? What's the question?

Q. Does it feel good to go to Game 7?

JIM EDMONDS: Yeah, this is what it's all about. I think we all watched TV as kids and we all hear all the stuff you guys say and write and show us. We finally get to play in Game 7. I mean, it's better than going home. So our team has been playing hard and they've been -- home field advantage has been good to both teams. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Q. Were you looking for something specific against Miceli?

JIM EDMONDS: I was just trying to get a hit, actually. Obviously, the guy to my right here deserves all the respect in the world. He kind of wasn't trying to give him anything to hit. I figured if I could hit something hard in the gap or another base hit, he would run hard to get to third and we would get a chance to score somehow. So that's it. I was just looking for a ball to get a good swing at. I wasn't trying to go deep. I was trying to hit the ball hard. Thank God for that. We get to play tomorrow.

Q. Was this the biggest hit of your career?

JIM EDMONDS: I'd be probably stupid to say no, but, yeah. Yeah, I think this is the biggest hit of my career. This is what it's all about, what a great feeling. I'm just happy to be a part of it. If it hasn't been for him these last couple years, it wouldn't be quite the experience that we've been enjoying. He carried us again tonight, and our team did a great job.

Q. Jim and Albert, how did you feel once you guys had gotten past Brad Lidge and knew you would be facing Dan Miceli? Did that change your feelings about the odds you were up against?

ALBERT PUJOLS: Well, I guess, you know, you don't need to talk about Brad Lidge. That guy's been amazing during the season, and here in the postseason. Of course you want him out of there. You want to face another guy. I give respect to Miceli, even though he gave up a home run, he's a great pitcher. He has good stuff. You also need to respect him. But like Jimmy said, we've been here before. It's amazing. We're just happy Game 6 is through. Come tomorrow and get ready to play again. They're going to have their best guy out there and I'm pretty sure they're going to be ready to play.

JIM EDMONDS: I don't know how to answer that question. He answered it pretty well. You have to respect that whole team, I mean, not just the pitching staff but everybody. And so it doesn't matter who comes in, you still have to do the same things, you got to try to get on base and move a guy over and score runs somehow or we're going to be here all night. Brad has been pitching awesome. I mean, I think when you got a guy out there like that, you can only ride him so long and he's thrown, I don't know how many innings, I think it was seven or eight. He looks unhittable. It was just a break for us. I think the biggest thing for us was Tavarez coming in and throwing an energetic inning. I mean, after what he went through, all the negative publicity he got. People don't know what kind of a person he really is. He just came out there and energized the crowd, energized us and he got us going. That was a big inning for us.

Q. For both Jim and Albert, can you talk about the way Julian was able to throw and the other guys in the bullpen?

ALBERT PUJOLS: Well, I mean, if you look at it, our bullpen has been outstanding all year long. Matty Mo (Morris) went out there. There was no doubt in Tony's (La Russa) mind if he struggled a little bit he was going to go to the bullpen. Matty Mo struggled, made a few mistakes. Like I said, we just got it; we came up with the win. We know we have a great bullpen; Kiko (Calero), Jason (Isringhausen), even though he blew that save. Who cares, we came up with the win. That's more important.

Q. Jim, I've seen you play for years, strike out a couple of times. For some reason, I don't know why, what do you attribute it to; you hit home runs after you strike out two or three times?

JIM EDMONDS: I mean, I just go up and do my job really. Just I wouldn't be here - I don't think anybody would be here at this level - if they couldn't battle and put some good at-bats together every now and then. It's obviously frustrating. It's something I try to work on. I think sometimes I try to do too much. But I just try to get locked in. I think every now and then you get a wakeup call, and they sent a message back to us and hopefully that was a wakeup call for me and everybody else. This is a hard-nosed game. I don't know what happened before. Obviously, that was a message back. I was just trying to dig in and have a good at-bat. It's just part of being a professional.

Q. How nervous was the dugout in extra innings?

JIM EDMONDS: I don't really -- I don't see any nervous energy. I just see energy. I think even though we've been playing this game a long time, guys in our clubhouse and dugout are veterans. I think this goes for their team, too, there's a lot of guys that have been around. I think on our side it was either play well or go home, and you have to live with that. I really, truly think that that's the way it is. I mean, you play in a series like this and if you're good enough to go on, you do. And if you don't, you got to tip your hat, shake their hands or do whatever you do and then move on and go home and relax and get ready to play another year sometime. Sometimes you just have to give the other team credit. If we weren't good enough, we weren't good enough. But it's just a battle out there and we came out on top today. It's just going to be another battle in Game 7.

Q. Albert, comment on the play on Edgar Renteria's play.

ALBERT PUJOLS: Which one? He made three or four plays. Which one?

Q. His defensive plays.


ALBERT PUJOLS: This guy's been unbelievable. It seems if he can't do it with a bat, he's going to do it with his defense. That's how all nine guys, they are playing out there. If you're not going to do it with the bat, you need to do it with the defense. It doesn't matter what the score of the game is, he's going to play hard. He's shown in the last three years, with two or three Gold Gloves, he's on the way to winning another one. Defense is the key in this game. You make a mistake and they're going to make you pay. We just played great defense.

Q. Albert, given the situation that you guys were in, either win or go home, you were pretty aggressive on the bases and it paid off. You got to third, opened up that two-run inning. Then you ran through the stop sign. Were you trying to be more aggressive?

ALBERT PUJOLS: Well, I guess, you know. You need to be aggressive. You need to score somehow. You're at home here. You want to start something going. You want to get the crowd involved, 52,000 people out there. We have home field advantage, and you need to be aggressive. You want to create something. You don't let something happen, make something happen out there playing hard. That's what I did. When Jimmy hit that pop-up, I thought it was deep enough that I could tag and get to third base. If I get thrown out, so what. In going through the stop sign, to tell you the truth, I never saw Oquendo. I look back and see where the ball was, and I thought I had a pretty good chance to score. When I look forward, I didn't see Oquendo, so I just went through the stop sign. But we got the win, that's it.

Q. On Beltran's ground ball in the 12th inning, had you ever had to slide into first base to get an out? How big was it to get him out in that inning?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I don't think I ever have, but first of all, I want to catch the ball. And if Tavarez couldn't get there, which I doubt he could get there, Beltran was running hard all the way. I try to get the ball out of my glove. I looked, I was like, "Wow, he's flying." I was like, "Hey, I'm gonna slide." I'm just glad nobody got hurt and we got the out.

Q. Jim, was there any sense of frustration building after the first five innings? I think 12 hits, but you had 8 left on base, some missed opportunities there with some four-hit innings.

JIM EDMONDS: I didn't sense any. I just think that, as I said before, we're at home. We figured if we played nine innings hard, we'd get a chance to score some runs eventually. We always had the last at-bat. So I think it goes over and over to say that both of these teams are veteran clubs and pretty steady. Obviously, we've seen the type of play that's been going on out there. So just keep playing the game hard; hopefully something good will happen.

Q. Either Jim or Albert or both, in this dramatic fashion, do you believe in the momentum carrying over to a Game 7? In a way, does this allow you to relax more going into a Game 7, having gotten this game out of the way?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I don't think you need to relax, I think you need to show up tomorrow and be ready to play. You can't take things for granted. You either come out tomorrow with the same energy we had today, even if we can have a little bit more, and get ready to play. When you take things for granted, that's when it slips away from you. We don't want that to happen. We don't want to wait until next year. 162 games and wait and see if we're going to be in this situation. There's one game away to get us to the next level. We're going to try to make it happen. If it doesn't happen, we're going to tip our hat but we're going to be ready to play. That's the idea.

Q. How important is it having this game and tomorrow's game at Busch Stadium with the fans keeping you pumped up?

JIM EDMONDS: It's actually kind of nice to actually know what time the game's going to start tomorrow (laughter). It was kept a secret; everything's a secret around here. It's nice. We went to their park and their fans were unbelievable. It was so loud in there. I've only heard that one time in my entire career. That's amazing. To come here, no top on the stadium, our fans as loud as they've been, as loud as they always are, day in, day out, people show up here ready to watch a good game, they know everything that's going on. They're cheering when we're walking Carlos (Beltran). They know what's going on and it's just a lot of fun to play in front of these fans. I think that's what home field advantage is all about. You saw it obviously so far in this series. We'll try to keep it up tomorrow.

Q. Talk about the challenge of facing Roger (Clemens) tomorrow. Is there any advantage to facing him, having faced him just a couple of days ago?

JIM EDMONDS: Well, for me to speak, I faced him a lot in my career and I don't think he's ever been the same. I faced him back-to-back starts once every couple years and it seems like why he's been doing what he's doing is he goes out there, makes adjustments every time he goes out there. That's the toughest thing about Roger. He knows what he's doing; he knows how to get you out. He changes. That's a big credit to him pitching all these years. I just don't think -- how much better does it get? Game 7 against Roger Clemens, I think it's going to be a blast.

Q. Albert, Jim said you've been carrying the team. What are your thoughts on what Jim means to this franchise?

ALBERT PUJOLS: I think he's lying (laughter). There's no hero on this team. That's the whole idea, why we had such a great year this year, during the season and right now in the playoffs. There's no hero. It's great, I mean, having a great second round. At the same time, you find guys like him coming up and getting the big hits. You don't look around and wait for this guy to do it. We look around and say, "We're all going to do it, somebody's going to do something." Different guys carried us all year long, early in the year, I picked it up and Jimmy picked it up, Edgar, Reggie (Sanders), Mike (Matheny), I mean, everybody. So I think that's the whole idea. There's no hero. Everybody, we know what we need to do to get ready. If one guy fails, then the other guy knows that he has to pick it up. That's why we've been so successful during the year and in the playoffs.

End of FastScripts...

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