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10/04/05 10:21 PM ET

La Russa postgame interview

Tony, do you feel that Chris was really locked in there on the hill today?

TONY LARUSSA: We see him that way. He's just been incredible. The concentration he's had for the entire season. I thought the difference was after we clinched, you know. He's not a selfish guy and lost a little edge, but he was back on today.

Tony, two-part question, I apologize for that. Why did you let Reggie Sanders swing 3-0, and talk a little bit about how hot he's been in the past few days.

LARUSSA: One thing we felt about coming in this last homestand, we had some key guys including Reggie starting to take better at-bats. He'd been out a long time. When you face a guy like Jake Peavy and you get an advantage of 3-0, you may only get one strike to hit so he had the green light. He still had to hit it to his credit, but that may be the last pitch you see that's anywhere near the middle of the plate.

Tony, what's your concern about the bullpen at this point? Are you concerned at all?

LARUSSA: No. I mean, let me tell you something. You score 8 like that, you know, you can't walk guys. I think every time we walked somebody, I was yelling from the dugout. We got outs we needed. It was hairy there at the end, no doubt about it, but that's -- you pitch one way when you got a lead and you pitch a little differently when you're trying to make a pitch, and if you walk them, you walk them.

Tony, if there were questions about any of your outfielders coming in, Edmonds and Reggie obviously hit the ball, Walker makes the play to kind of take the edge off of what might have happened. What does that say to you that hasn't been said already about where those three guys are right now?

LARUSSA: Well, I think the way I explain it is as I mentioned earlier, watching these guys all September, it's been kind of mixed results and, you know, trying to take care of them, trying to get them healthy. Here in the last two clubs we've played, Houston and Cincinnati, there were a lot of really good signs from all three of those guys, so you know, we feel like in this series that you know, we've got three weapons there that are a lot like what they are normally, so we can keep them healthy and keep them playing. I mean, they get -- they're series pressure players, series clutch guys, and it really deepens our lineup.

Is Carpenter's deal just a one day thing for you, or is there any treatment beyond that?

LARUSSA: You know, I asked that same question, and I understand it's a theory about a hydration thing, so normally it won't be this hot. I listened to him and he was drinking last night, drank a lot of fluids, he was really sweating and it was hot, so the way I was explained, it was just a hydration thing.

Tony, can you talk about how Chris' start today sets the tone and how maybe your other starters can feed off of that the rest of the series?

LARUSSA: Well, you saw a lot of how we played this year, starting pitcher, and then the other guys are watching him, so when it's their turn, you know, it's a real healthy responsibility to, you know, keep pitching to that standard. You also saw the defense. I thought one of the real keys to the game -- Peavy's tough. He's really good. We had a string of two-strike hits where our guys were just competing as hard as they could. A little blooper here, a little scratch hit that got by the first baseman. That's not really beating him up, but our hitters refused to give in, and sometimes that works.

Tony, on the Loretta ball where it was hit to Nunez, is it correct that Nunez was moved over a couple of steps on that play?

LARUSSA: He may have moved over a little bit. We were changing where we were going if it was a swing and miss.

Tony, three double plays back to back to back innings there in the second, third and fourth. How important were those to get Carpenter out of some tough situations?

LARUSSA: Well, I mean, it's -- there's a lot of pieces to our club here. The double play is the right up there with the best things we've done. Our pitchers pitch to it. We don't try to avoid contact. The second baseman has got a cannon, and he sends in there. The shortstop gets the ball and gets rid of it. Scott, he has very good hands, quick release, accurate throw. I mean, if you ever watch Albert, I mean, he's always aggressive trying to go 3-6-1-3, you know. I know we set some kind of record for St. Louis. You saw it. That's how we've been turning them left and right.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.