John Rodriguez

Ph_431138 Oh my goodness. Let me just start off by saying that. Oh my goodness. God is great. God is beautiful. God is life. God put that bat in Pujols’ hands in that situation, and told him, ‘It’s your time, son. Come through.’ And he did. Wow.

It’s my first year. I’m blessed just being here in the big leagues, and now I’m blessed to have this experience in the postseason. And now to see something like this… We’re going to Game 6. I told you it was going to be a war. I just can’t believe how loud the crowd was today, and then just to mute it with one swing of the bat is unbelievable.

I think I should have been a little bit more patient with the first strike. I should have let Lidge pitch a little bit. But the adrenaline was kicking in. I should have known a little bit better that I can’t hit a two-run home run when there’s nobody on base.

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Chris Burke

Burkerun200 The amazing thing about this game is not only the highs and lows that can be associated with the entire season, but the highs and lows that can come about throughout the course of a game. When you play a game of this magnitude, it can get you to the top of the mountain and it can get you to the bottom of the valley.

In case people were wondering if we’ve got any resolve, we’ll be able to show them by the way we bounce back from this one. Albert Pujols is the greatest hitter in the game. Unfortunately, it showed up at the right time for them.

I think everybody could feel that we were going to win this game. We were down to the last pitch and we had our guy, Brad Lidge, on the mound. You’ve got to give them a lot of credit. David Eckstein is such a tough out. Jim Edmonds draws a walk and Pujols blasts a three-run homer. There’s nothing you can really say about it.

Fortunately for us, we have a day off to kind of regroup, mentally way moreso than physically. We’ve got to look at it that we’re up, 3-2. We’ve got Roy Oswalt and Roger Clemens left.

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Chris Burke

Burke_2What a game on Sunday. People think walk-off home runs are fun, butthat was as much fun as I’ve ever had. Well, maybe not the most fun
I’ve ever had, but that is just a great way to win a game.

It says a lot about the guys we have on this team and the fact
that when Phil Garner puts somebody in, he’s counting on them to make a
play. We have so many guys capable of making plays, and I think that’s
really one of the biggest strengths of the team.

Eric Bruntlett is just such a good defender, no matter where
you put him. He made an absolutely perfect play and Adam Everett made
one of the best turns that I’ve ever seen to complete that double play
that ended the game. I don’t think you could have turned that double
play quicker or better than he did.

And Willy Taveras made a huge catch in the eighth inning. There
were just a lot of little things and a lot of people pitching in Sunday
to help us with the victory.

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John Rodriguez

Dcijq8xu I was going to get up (for Jason Marquis) if Mark Grudzielanek didn’t get that single in the eighth inning. But he ended up hitting a single, and we put Marquis up there to bunt. So I just thought maybe in the ninth or somewhere around there I might get a chance to come up in a situation.

Pressure situations, you can’t think about it. You just have to go up there and get it done. No ifs, ands or buts about it. You’ve got to get it done. I tried my best. I hit it to the wrong part of the field. It just happened to be out that way. It’s all right.

It was just like yesterday, really. I knew I had to get on one way or the other. The difference this time was that I only had one pitch to work with because it was a full count. Pressure situations are what pinch-hitters are for. The majority of the time, it’s going to be that way.

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Chris Burke

Burkediveback275 I was obviously surprised when I saw my name in the lineup in center field for Game 3. I took it as a vote of confidence from Phil Garner that he wanted to see me in the lineup. He’s just been pressing the right buttons all year long, so when I saw my name in the lineup, I said, "All right, I’ll just have to try to help the team win in center today, and hopefully I’ll play well."

I knew I had swinging the bat well, but Mike Lamb has been swinging the bat very well himself and he’s got great numbers against Matt Morris. So I thought, "It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if I didn’t play today."

I didn’t think about other angles. When I saw my name in center, I was definitely surprised at first, but I was grateful to get the opportunity to try to help us.

The atmosphere on Saturday was incredible. The fans provide so much excitement to the game. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever wanted an out more than I wanted it there in that last out against David Eckstein. We obviously had our best guy out there on the mound, Roger Clemens, and he was able to get it done like always.

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John Rodriguez

Ph_4311381 This was a tough loss. We can’t hang our heads, though. They’ve still got to win two more, and obviously we’ve got to win three. This team is strong-minded. We’re not going to hang our heads, not one bit. We’re going to go out there like we did today, and try to come out on top next time.

It’s a tough loss, but there’s not one person on this team who’s going to let this game get to them. Because if we do, we’re done. There’s no way we’re going to get down on ourselves. There’s no way.

I just approached Lidge based on having talked with Hal McRae, our hitting coach. He told me a couple of things, and also I went off my last at-bat against Lidge, where he threw a fastball away and two sliders. I just try to get something up where I can drive it.

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John Rodriguez

Dcijq8xu1 At first, the inning before I came in (to pinch-hit in Game 2 of the NLCS, manager Tony La Russa) told me I was going to hit. So I put different scenarios in my head. If the first two guys get on, should I bunt even if they don’t tell me to bunt? Things like that.

I was just thinking about a situation like what happened — a man on second, or a guy leads off the inning and the next guy bunts him over and then it’s my turn. But there was a base open, so I told myself, just look for your pitch. Don’t chase. Just go out there and some way, somehow, get it done.

We didn’t talk about a bunt. Not at all. It was my chance to do something great, but I took the walk and that’s fine. All I knew was that I had to go up there and battle. No matter what, get it done.

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