10/18/05 3:20 AM ET
Tony La Russa postgame interview
Manager speaks about dramatic Game 5 win
By / MLB.com
TONY La RUSSA: Well, when the inning started, you always know that no matter how great these guys are, they are human. We had the right part of the lineup coming up, if we could just get something going, then we'd have a chance. Then you strikeout two guys in fact, I looked over a couple of times. I was just kind of checking Bagwell out and I could imagine what he was feeling.
But we had guys, he's tied for first with the toughest competitor in uniform today, in any sport, and he managed to get the single. You know, I think they were trying to avoid giving Jimmy the pitch that we gave Lance, and they just missed.
And Albert, he's grinding every at bat, with him, you saw some magic there, believe me it looked like we were going to get beat and next thing you know, we have to get three outs to win.
Q. Two totally different series, but how does it help having been in this same spot last year going home?
TONY La RUSSA: Well, you know, for the kind of club we have and the kind of year we had, losing four in a row would have been that would have been tough to take, because we're a better club than that, and they are playing great. But we want to get home for a game, and it's still more important for us to win than it is them, Game 6. They have got Roy, we've got Mark, a classic matchup.
But we're back as Busch and we're going to do exactly what we did today. The guys coined the phrase, "hard nine." We're going to play a hard nine. It feels different from last year, because everything is different, but the matchups are real exciting, Game 6. So should be a very special night.
Q. Can you speak to the whole inning, is the mindset get it to Albert and then the two great at bats to get to Albert, your thoughts as Phil goes to the mound to talk with Lidge and he said, what his message was: "Don't give him anything to hit, doesn't matter if we walk him." Are you thinking don't walk him intentionally, are you thinking of that as an option, all of those things? TONY La RUSSA: Well, we had eight, nine, coming out there, two left handed hitters that are good in a pinch like that, and he makes great pitches, strikes them out.
But if you looked at those two left handers and David, we were thinking, well I was thinking, just what I was thinking, if one guy gets on base, then Jim Edmonds, he's got legitimate tying power. And if we got a little something going, and you've got Albert and you've got Reggie, I think that's the strategy you want to have.
I'm trying to remember, I think it was Matt here in Game 3. He did what Lidge did today. You know, you try so hard to make a nasty pitch that you over throw it and you leave it in the middle. What was it, three straight two strike hits and he's trying to be nasty. Chris did it today, breaking ball to Biggio. It's just human beings trying to do a little too much.
Q. First and third innings, you get two guys on, Albert comes on, two on, nobody out, this is what you want and he doesn't come through. Does it go through your mind, maybe this isn't our night or our series?
TONY La RUSSA: Well, if you're reading the game, you're thinking, this doesn't look good for the visiting team, because those are break open, crooked numbers waiting to happen with Albert and Reggie and Larry. I mean, when it doesn't happen.
But the one thing, you've got to be in our dugout to see it, the guys will absolutely not stop playing nine innings. So you knew you had Chris pitching. We felt he could hold them down. We were trying to break through. But, you know, when you play nine, every once in awhile, you get a miracle. It's happened a few times for us this year and it happened again tonight.
Q. Can you just talk about what Jason Isringhausen did in this situation and closing it out, too?
TONY La RUSSA: Well, I like the fact that he came in in the eighth inning and he was concentrating. The blow by Berkman, that's a backbreaker, heartbreaker, however you want to look at it. You can come out there and just lose an edge, maybe go through the emotions and all of a sudden they put another point or two on there. It happened last night in California. And he was real concentrated, showed real good stuff.
So that was important, and then, you know, he still had to get that's a one run game. Still had to get three outs, and if one guy gets on base, you know who is on deck and then who is behind him. We were definitely worried, getting the three outs.
Q. You mentioned the competitiveness of David Eckstein, he talked about how he had a sense of calm at the plate there with two down and two strikes, and what does that say about him as a competitor?
TONY La RUSSA: Well, I think I think to be in that position and be productive, I mean, you have to make a real strong commitment to produce. I mean, this has got to be something that's very important to you, so that you're fired up and you're going to take your best shot.
Once you decide that you're going to take your best shot I remember when Will Clark came here in 2002 and he had a great piece of advice for some of the guys going a little nuts. He just said, "Remember to breathe, you've got to remember to breathe." In the end, you know, David has been there, he's committed to it, and he looked like he was just having his best at bat.
He had his best at bat because he compared, just like Albert did, just like Jimmy did, just like the Astros did. We play the same game; that's why it's always great games between us.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.