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October 1, 2011

Tony La Russa


Phillies Ā– 11
Cardinals - 6

Q. Can you just talk about your decision to leave Lohse in to face IbaƱez, and whether you contemplated taking him out before that at-bat?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I watched the inning. First of all, he pitched very effectively, and I watched the inning develop. The ball that Rollins hit to start it was off the end of the bat. That's what you get, well-placed.
I keep watching, he strikes out Utley, which is a tough out, and then he gets a hopper from Pence. I haven't seen him do anything wrong, both up the middle, found a hole. Pretty tough to take him out there. I know Howard is a real tough match-up, and he did what we did the rest of the night, got a ball in the middle of the strike zone for his first home run, and then he made another mistake to IbaƱez. But at that point he pitched IbaƱez tough, so I thought it was too early to get him. But that's a home run.
And then later on, we did the same thing, get two strikes, some balls here a couple, three times. My decision was based on what I had seen. I didn't see him do anything wrong. He's a guy with a really tough arm, he got a 3-2 pitch in the middle of the plate when he was trying to pitch him tough, and he just missed and he hit it.

Q. You got a little bit of a jump on Halladay. He obviously settled back and became himself. Did you just feel like he'd settled himself in or was he doing anything differently?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I thought that was a good way to start the game, but we were saying in the dugout, three runs was not going to win the game. We were trying, and he just made a lot of pitches and got us out. Probably could have made it a little tougher on him at times, but overall he just deserves the credit.

Q. You go to a pinch-runner there with Laird for Pujols?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, his heel was barking. There was no reason at that point. We keep scoring and his start comes up. I wish it wouldn't have, but his heel was barking, and he didn't want to run the bases in the ninth. He'll play tomorrow.

Q. Was that going into the game or did something happen during the game?
TONY LA RUSSA: He's fought that the whole last part of the season. Every once in a while he'll hit wrong and it barks.

Q. Seemed like in that first winning you came out, Furcal gets the hit, and you started running. Was that the mindset right away was just to aggressively get up on top and start scoring right away?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I think if you go against somebody like Halladay and you wait around waiting to string a bunch of hits, you're not going to score, so we were going to try to push the rest of the game and never got anybody on. That's kind of our style, but you've got to get somebody on. We just couldn't get anything going. We had a couple chances there that next inning. He got tougher and tougher, and there wasn't much.

Q. The fact that you had to get Rzepczynski and Boggs in a situation like this, just your thoughts on how they did being exposed in the playoffs like that?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, here again, you look at Mark's little ground ball off his glove, right, and they did a good job putting the ball in play, and that's part of winning baseball, because balls do find holes, and they found holes, and then they did the other part where he made a mistake, he had a ball, he threw to Utley over the plate and that's a base hit. Boggs comes in there and he made a good pitch on Pence, and then 0-2 twice, I think, on breaking balls. The guy is not trying to hang them, but they did a good job of hitting the misses and we did a bad job of not putting hitters away.

Q. Too early on Holliday for tomorrow?
TONY LA RUSSA: That's one of the things, I wanted him to hit. First of all, the game was there. But I'll be interested to see how he came out of it. I don't know.

Q. Was this kind of a formula, you guys would need to beat the Phillies, get the pitchers early, get the early runs and then hope that your starter and your bullpen can close them out?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I think you go against them, we got six runs today, a little misleading. The starting pitcher has got the responsibility to hold them down, and we've been doing a good job of that, and our bullpen has been good.
The one thing you're not going to do is -- you have to outscore them with their starting pitching and that's not going to be a good formula.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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