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10/08/05 11:45 PM ET

Phil Garner postgame interview

Astros manager discusses Game 3 win over Braves

Phil, before the seventh were you wondering if you squandered too many chances, all the extra base hits you had and only had three runs?

PHIL GARNER: Well, the flow of the game felt pretty good, but you do begin to wonder how many opportunities you're going to let slide by before you tack a bunch of runs on the board. But we did in that seventh inning obviously, get a nice inning going and put runs on the board. I wouldn't exactly say ice the game, but we did feel more comfortable at that point.

But we did a nice job tonight of continuing to add on, even though we let some opportunities slip away.

We're not the type of team that's probably going to score 15 runs, but, you know, in tonight's game, seven was pretty good.

Phil, Mike Lamb's home run looked large for a number of innings there. Obviously didn't become quite as important. What did you do to get him going at the end of August, and did you have any heart to hearts?

GARNER: No heart to hearts, but Mike's stroke is when he keeps the ball in the middle of the diamond. When he swings and keeps the ball in the middle of the diamond, he's going to hit home runs and stay on the breaking ball much better, won't roll over it. Most of this year he's been coming around the ball, surrounding the ball, rolling over, smothering the ball, whatever terminology you want to use.

Towards the end of the year, I actually told him on several occasions that we weren't going to win if he didn't start hitting the ball pretty good. He was going to have to stay inside to pitch better. He worked on it the whole last month of the season. As you know, he did get he got he was swinging the bat a whole lot better and he put some good numbers up last month for us. It was a big plus.

Talk about the job Roy did, and especially after he kind of stumbled there in the third inning, how he came back. Seemed to get him going.

GARNER: Yes, he did. And going back to Lamb's home run, you know, we had the momentum after the first inning, obviously, on our side. Then we lost it. They took it back from us. And then when Lamb hit the home run, I thought Roy went back out and you saw a different Roy on the mound, he got aggressive, threw his fastball, just went right at them until he gave up a hit in, what, about the sixth inning. (Adam) LaRoche got jammed on a base hit in the sixth inning.

I think the Lamb home run, getting the lead again, then Roy's whole approach, looked to me, like it changed. He got to be the Roy of old. I think the seventh inning probably hurt him. It was good, but I think he lost a little bit of momentum going his way there.

But to get us to the seventh was good tonight, get us through seven tonight was good.

Can you talk about Biggio, Phil, when he's at the top of the order doing what he's doing, what a difference that makes?

GARNER: Well, as he goes, we go. You've seen that in these two games that we've won, he's been the guy that's in the middle of a lot of things. Stuff happens. But he was aggressive tonight at the plate, hit the ball very well. Two doubles? Three doubles? Three doubles tonight.

Seemed like every time I looked up he was doing something, so that's the Biggio that we like to see.

Phil, Brandon Backe tomorrow. His starts, since he came off the DL, and secondly what the experience of being on the big stage last year will do for him going on tomorrow?

GARNER: Well, I think being on the big stage last year is going to help him. But he was pitching well for us last year when he got there. He pitched a huge game here when he had, we had the third game here, Game 5, against St. Louis, he did a brilliant job in that game. When he came back from the disabled list, you know, one of the things, I thought he was being a little too picky, wasn't challenging the strike zone. He's had a start or two here where he's been better at that.

When he challenges the strike zone, he gets the job done, he'll do well. There's no time to be tentative, and I don't think he is. I think last year's experience will help him, he'll be able to draw on that.

Phil, is (Morgan) Ensberg in that same category as Biggio, as he goes, you go?

GARNER: Well, what I mean by that is Biggio gets us kind of going, but somebody's got to complete the job and Ensberg has been doing that lately. If Ensberg gets a couple of doubles tonight and nobody on base, we don't have anything going on.

So I think that's what Biggio's been doing for us, but Ensberg is the guy that's been cleaning it up when Biggio's got something going. True, you got to have both of them. Ensberg's looming large now and driving in big runs for us.

Thinking about playing (Orlando) Palmeiro in the first three games?

GARNER: Well, he had seen Hudson. He's had some success off of Hudson. Atlanta's a little bigger stadium than ours, and I was looking for -- he gave us a little bit of better defense in the configuration we had tonight, and I thought that might be a factor.

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