10/16/05 9:33 PM ET
Phil Garner postgame interview
Manager says team doesn't take anything for granted
By / MLB.com
PHIL GARNER: Factored into the what?
Factored into the end result of the game.
GARNER: I don't know. I'm not that smart, and really didn't pay much attention to the ejection. I was trying to think what I was going to do in that situation, so I was running through my mind all of my possible scenarios and what I was up to.
So I didn't pay that much attention to it. You're talking about Tony's?
GARNER: Well, in both cases, really.
What was your thinking on taking Backe out at that point?
GARNER: Well, he's not been pitching on a consistent basis. I thought he had given us, I thought he had struggled, even though he had only given up one or two hits in the first four innings, he got behind a lot of hitters. He got into a nice little groove in the fifth inning and did a pretty good job to start out the sixth. But it had gotten to a point in the game where I just felt like our bullpen was A okay and wanted to go to him. It's been a while since he had been that long but I thought he had done a great job for us and our bullpen has been solid for us, so I felt comfortable going to the bullpen.
When did you become aware of Larry Walker standing on third base there in the ninth inning and sort of what was your reaction?
GARNER: Well, I saw him when he took, not until he was about halfway there I guess. Of course we were all screaming. That's why we're hoarse, but trying to get attention; to no avail.
Anyway it put us right back in another pickle. It's a tough situation, a guy that has speed on the base paths and a guy that can hit the ball in the air like he did the other night at the plate and a guy that runs okay, too. We have a lot of things that are going on all of a sudden. We took, our middle infielders took a couple of steps in. We had been playing just a little bit deeper right there and they turned an incredible double play to finish the game.
When you came out to discuss that play, Walker going to third, I saw Morgan calling time; was he not granted time?
GARNER: They did not see Morgan call time, and so nobody, no umpire saw it, so I can't quibble with that. I just asked Phil (Cuzzi) if he had seen it and I asked anybody else if they had seen it and they said if they had, they would have told me. So we didn't have much to stand on.
GARNER: I just told the infielders what we wanted to do, our plays that we were going to, how we were going to handle the situation and they did pretty good. They said we need a double play and a slowly roller to get the guy at home plate and a ground ball to get the double play and they responded quite well.
How often have you put Eric in at second base in that situation?
GARNER: It's been a few times. Usually if I get to, I've done it for a couple of different reasons during the course of the season. Depending how we are doing in the ball game, I like to get Biggio out, he's been playing a lot of years and give him a little bit of a breather late in the game. And occasionally I'll do it for defensive reasons. Tonight we had a double play situation and made the move right there.
So he's played it a few times this year.
Were you surprised he was able to get the double play; the ball wasn't hit that hard.
GARNER: Well, I was. My first instinct when the ball was hit was to yell "Go home" with the ball, but it was in a spot that it was going to be tough for (Eric) Bruntlett to make a play to home. He was not going to be able to take advantage of his arm strength, because the ball was to his left and he had to run in. When he got to it and threw the ball to second, and then when I saw it was a good throw to second, I thought, well, we might have a shot at a double play here, and they made a super double play.
I know that you have to win four to go to the World Series, but your feelings about being up 3-1, and not only up 3-1, they have got to beat your three front guys to win the series.
GARNER: Well, for us it's the best one out of three right now. It doesn't get any easier. You can be so close, yet so far away, so there's nothing that we can take for granted. We're in good position in terms of our pitching, our players and everything. But the job's still got to get done. We have to keep our pedal to the metal and we have to work hard and stay focused and do what we can do.
You had talked about Taveras might have a chance to come through and he ended up scoring the winning run and making the play in center. Are you surprised that he managed to have such an impact?
GARNER: Absolutely not. I think Willy has shown us that he can play in these big games all along the course of the season. He's come up big for us, and he's made a couple of really nice plays on the hill out there, but that was not an easy play and he did a terrific job on that.
And of course, his speed, it makes that look easy, too, and then he comes up with a big hit and that might have set up the bottom of the eighth inning to score some more runs. So Willy has been doing things like that all year, so it doesn't surprise us at all.
Does it just seem like everything is kind of going your way, you put Bruntlett in, he gets the double play; Willy pinch hits and goes into center makes that great play; and the play at home was the one you guys got the winning run yesterday and they can't get it today.
GARNER: Well, I wouldn't say that. If it felt like it was going our way, we would have scored three or four runs earlier in that ballgame when we had a couple of opportunities.
But, you know, the big thing; it's a good ballclub, they don't give an inch, and we've been playing tough games, too. So I don't know if it's going our way; it just comes down to some pretty good playing. Guys have done good jobs. When it's been called on them to step up and do something fantastic, they have.
No destiny or fate or anything like that?
GARNER: No, no. We make our own destiny.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.