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Cardinals post-game quotes
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Division Series
10/03/2002 10:56 pm ET 
Cardinals post-game quotes

Tony La Russa, Cardinals manager

In a game when runs are at such a premium, how much is a successful sacrifice bunt?

Two games here, that hasn't been the easiest play to make, especially when you have guys with real good stuff like the four pitchers. So Mike did a good job of getting it down.

How are Finley and Rolen?

We all thought it was the blister, but it was not. You know, like right here, that little muscle, it was cramping on him, just got fatigued. I think he'll be all right.

Rolen, I don't think it's probably too smart to say anything too definite. He's definitely got a sprained shoulder. He's going to get a scan tomorrow. I mean, I'm sitting out there thinking about it. My heart is really warm about the way we're playing and I'm sick to my stomach about Scott.

It's not really he is a just good player, but he's really excited about the post-season. He played at such a high level.

You know, news is probably not too good.

The way this unfolded, especially with that injury, is that another tribute to your team's resiliency?

My opinion, we already passed those tests. I'd just as soon we not keep getting tested. I mean, that's just the game of baseball. On the professional side, I mean, guys get hurt. I just saw Mr. (Luis) Gonzalez walking. Guys get hurt. We'll go out there.

I feel worse for Scott than I do for us.

Runner interference on Cintron, do you think that was a case of inexperience? Do you think Scott could have made the play?

The back half of that is easy. Scott could make that play. This guy is incredible. I think the guy on second, he's trying to tie the game. He just hauls tail. You know, he's trying to run to third, get there as soon as he can. I think it's one of those unavoidable collisions that ends up being a really tough break for us.

Trust me, if he wouldn't have interfered, the inning would have been over and we would still have a third baseman.

Talk about Finley's performance.

Cannot give him enough credit. Coming in, he was one of the keys to our chance. First couple innings, he made great pitches, then he started pitching even better. We were working into a tough call. Guys winning one-nothing, how far do you push him? He showed up so big for us. I'd give anything for playing JD deeper, catch (Quinton) McCracken's ball. But we got the win. It's postseason. He was great.

Beating Johnson and Schilling back to back, how big is that for you?

You need three wins in this level of series, right? The win is the critical thing. To get two ...

I knew our club, there wasn't one guy that worked out yesterday, wasn't one guy came to the park thinking that "We got one." I mean, we were going to play, keep playing the way we've been playing.

When you stop and think about it now, you faced those two guys, I mean, nobody respects Randy and Curt more than the St. Louis Cardinals. We competed against them. We ended up, when the day was over, to have two wins. Yeah, it adds something to it. The wins is what you look for.

Can you talk about Cairo and his ability to deliver in situations like that with a lot of regularity?

That's why I was so glad he was called into the interview room. I wasn't really glad he wore shorts because we have a fine about embarrassing the club when you have ugly legs (laughter).

I mean, you've seen it all year long. You look at his pinch hitting record, he's right at the top in the league this year. He has gotten so many huge pinch hits, just like today. Drive in a run, start of the rally, middle of the rally. I think it's a tribute to how hard he works. Keeps himself in shape. He's a very smart player.

Would you talk about the mood, the confidence, in the clubhouse after winning these two games?

I think if I had to describe it, it would be excited. But we have done an excellent job for a long time at not getting carried away. I mean, this is a three-out-of-five series. We know who we're playing against, the defending champions. We have total respect.

We're really excited that we've got two. But, trust me, there will be nobody that's half-stepping on Saturday because we know how dangerous the Diamondbacks are.

Are you legitimately concerned that Rolen has a Luis Gonzalez type injury?

Well, I mean, here again, this is not my area. I just talked to our team doctor before I came over here. I don't think the severity is like Gonzo's, where he had surgery, his tendons, whatever. But I do think that his continuing to play for sure in this series is very questionable. We'll hold our fingers crossed through tomorrow. I think there's a chance that he might have played his last game.

Miguel Cairo, game-winning hit

Most of your success has been as a pinch hitter, even though you came into the game. Did you treat it as that?

Yes. I always get ready to pinch hit. Today I got the chance, the opportunity to go out there. I was just looking for fastball to hit somewhere hard. I get the fastball right in the middle, a little in, but I tried to hit it to the middle. I got lucky today.

Would you tell us what it means to you to be here, getting hit today?

You know, I just am blessed right now. I'm in the best organization in baseball. Since I've been here, it's been so good for me. You know, they've been treating me so well. You know, today, the base hit, was make it most better. You know, what a beautiful day today for me. It was good.

What does it do for the Cardinals to come in here and get these two games off Johnson and Schilling?

You just facing the best two pitchers in the National League and American League. You face Randy Johnson, he might win the Cy Young award. When you come over here and you face those two guys, you know, you win two games here in Arizona, it's kind of hard, you have 50,000 people rooting against you.

It feels good. It feels really nice to come here and get two. Now we going to go home and try to finish over there.

Do you consider yourself mostly a first pitch hitter when you only have one at-bat a game?

I try to look for a ball to hit. When you pinch-hitting, you just going to see one good fastball. I try to go out there and trying to look for it, trying to hit it hard somewhere, you know, hoping that I get lucky at-bat. Sometimes you going to miss, sometimes you going to hit it.

Chuck Finley, starting pitcher

How is your hand? Will that keep you out of action for any length of time?

Chuck Finley: Well, what happened was after that inning where I ran the bases, my hand started cramping up. My index finger kind of started shutting down toward my palm. I couldn't get it to relax. When I was facing that first batter, after every pitch, it would kind of lock down. I would try to move it back up.

No, it was fine. It was cramping. I couldn't get it out of there.

With the base running involved, did you land on your hand?

I don't know if I was out there running and it got to a point in the game where I might have started to fatigue. I know when I came in from standing on the bases, my hand started cramping up. I went out there, wasn't in any pain or anything, but every time I would relax, my finger would shut down. When I would throw a pitch, it would do the same thing.

I felt at that point, I brought the trainers out, they might be able to massage it or loosen it up. Tony was going to take me out if somebody got on anyway. That was a smart move.

You appeared to be getting better as the game went on. Is that true?

Well, I started getting all my pitches over. As I got strikes on guys, I was able to expand the zone and keep a lot of my pitches below the hitting zone. I was throwing them over the middle of the plate. They were kind of dropping down after that. Started mixing in my curve ball a little more, started throwing my fast ball in more.

I just kind of got into a little bit of rhythm the third and fourth inning. I know the first couple innings, my pitch count was up there. After that, I kind of got some quick outs which kind of helped me out.

One of those games where the longer I stayed out there, seemed like the better my rhythm progressed through the game. That's what I really needed to do.

There was a lot of talk about Randy and Curt coming in here. Would you talk about coming in here and out-dueling both of them?

If you would have told me we were going to put 12 runs up against a game that Randy Johnson pitched, I would be very surprised. I would be pleased, but I would be surprised. I thought that was a little bit of an extreme. I knew today's game was going to be the type of game where I didn't think that type of run production would exist.

You know, this team, the whole year, most of the time that I've been here, we've been able to, you know, if you want to slug it out, we'll slug it out with you. Two-to-one, three-to-one, we'll do that, too.

Our team has been able to adjust their style of play, the way we play. We seem to answer the question every night it's presented to us about, You want to pitch well, one or two runs will get it, or slug it out.

To answer your question, a split would have been good for us. Obviously us coming out of here 2-0 looks very, very good. But going back to St. Louis and playing two games at Busch, it's going to be very exciting for us.

We're in a good position, where we want to be. This is what we dream of doing, coming out here, 2-0. (Going back to St. Louis at) 1-1 would have been good, but 2-0 is very exciting for our team.

Can you talk about the emotional shift late in the game, when you lose the lead, Rolen gets hurt?

I felt that was -- for us to come back and regain the lead after Scotty got hurt, we had a little bit of an emotional letdown because he didn't look very well when he came off the field. We came back and Edgar Renteria, who has been doing huge things for us ever since I've been here, and Miguel Cairo has been getting clutch base hits, we pushed that run across. It seems like that was going to be a big, huge part of our game. When bring the back of the bullpen in with Isringhausen, it's pretty much lights out with him.

The emotions were very high. I mean, the bench is as high strung as I've seen it in quite a while in this type of atmosphere. We persevered and poured it out. It was going to come down to one or two mistakes. Whoever made them was going to lose the game. Fortunately enough, we didn't make quite as many as they did.

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