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10/15/05 9:00 PM ET

Phil Garner postgame interview

Manager discusses Astros bullpen, lead over Cardinals

Just how valuable has Mike Lamb been for you this entire season and last year, as well?

PHIL GARNER: Well, last year he was incredibly good, and this year he's struggled a little bit early. But when it came to crunch time the last, I'd say six weeks of the season, he started coming on. His average is a little bit deceiving because he did hit the ball better than his average would show and he had such a miserable first half of the season average ways, but he drove in big runs for us. He drove in over 50 runs during the course of the season, so he's been a guy that's played very well for us in the clutch. And down the stretch, he did a terrific job for us.

Can you assess Roger's performance?

GARNER: I thought he came out, threw the ball real well and then I would say his last six outs, he looked to me like he labored a little bit.

But as is the case, he bent a little bit, but he certainly didn't break and he didn't give in. He had given up a couple of runs, but still did a terrific job for us. The intensity that he brings to the ballpark just really helps.

He got us to a good point, we got the lead and we turned it over to Chad Qualls, and he did a terrific job, too.

Can you talk about how valuable your bullpen has been this postseason and how consistent they have been?

GARNER: Well, Lidge has been extremely valuable, and I think in this NLCS, this is the first time we've seen Qualls, but you saw what he did today. He was fantastic. His stuff was very good, and our bullpen has been terrific all year, from the first guy out to the last guy out. We all watched what Brad did today and we know what he's been doing.

Qualls, Gallo and Springer, they have all been doing a terrific job for us. They have kept us in every ballgame. There's really not very few ballgames that got away from us over the course of the season and over the course of the playoffs, in the Division Series and now this, and they have continued to do what they have been doing. They pitched very well.

From the fourth inning on, they were making Roger throw a lot of pitches and getting him deep into counts, was he trying to be tough minded and get through it as best he could?

GARNER: I think so. Listen, they are a good hitting ballclub. You know, it's not the best, most wins in the National League, there's a reason for that. Offensively they are very, very good. Rocket did a good job. They fouled off a lot of pitches, they took him deep into counts, they stayed in the count, several guys did, and got his workload up pretty good. But still, I think Rocket did a real good job.

Concerning your lineup why did you officially decide to put Burke in and go with how you did?

GARNER: When did I officially decide?


GARNER: This morning.

Can you comment on what you saw on the play involving Lane and Núñez at third, and then the play with Luna throwing home?

GARNER: It looked to me like the throw was up in the baseline up and then it looked like Núñez was trying to come up to catch it and maybe make a play. It looked like Lane was sliding and caught him on one of his legs, I couldn't tell which one, I guess it might have been his left leg. From that point, I don't know, but of course Lane got in there.

Then on the ensuing play, Lane did a good job of getting inside the field and forcing Luna to throw the ball around him and I think that might have been a factor in him throwing the ball high and wide.

After Roger had to run the bases in the third inning, the fourth inning, So Taguchi puts one within the track, Pujols on the track, base on balls, base on balls; any connection there by any chance?

GARNER: I don't think so. Sometimes Rocket will put a ball in a certain spot and let guys hit them out in the middle part of the diamond. I don't think there's a connection in that.

By the way, when he walked the guys, he walked them on his split, and breaking balls. I thought he was struggling a little bit from that point on with his breaking ball, but I don't see a connection with them being on base.

The Cardinals look a little wounded right now, do you sense an opportunity to get on top of them and keep them down?

GARNER: Well, we won, we're up a game in the series and we're not going to take that for granted. We're not going to take any players for granted. If they are banged up it might limit their options a little bit, but still, Mabry is a good hitter and I won't like seeing him up there in the ninth inning or seeing him in the game if Núñez can't play. Sanders I'm sure is going to be playing, and you know what Walker can do. He may not be 100%, but still he's a threat. I don't see it as a disadvantage. It may not be exactly as they would like to have it, but I can't tell you how much we respect their team. Still, they are a very good ballclub, any way you look at it, we are not going to take anything for granted.

Would you talk on Everett for a minute, particularly that play he made right up the middle?

GARNER: He did a nice job. He's been, you've seen his defensive plays, his defensive play has been very, very good over the course of the season and he makes plays like that, very, very solid. He sort of quietly goes about his business.

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