Garner postgame interview

Garner postgame interview

You were talking before the game about playing for one run more in the last week. Does four sacrifices reflect that philosophy?

PHIL GARNER: Well, it sure seemed that way today but that's not really what I was doing. We wanted to score lots of runs but we had lots of opportunities today to do that. It just kind of turned out that way. Two of them were by Pettitte, two nice bunts by Pettitte. Then we had one by Willy (Taveras) who, you know, he bunts for hits a lot of times, too. Sometimes it looks like he's sacrificing when he's bunting for a hit.

Phil, Biggio was in the middle of everything offensively. Does this team take off a bit more when a veteran guy like that is doing it for you?

GARNER: Well, I was saying that as he goes, we go. I think there's a lot to that. Biggio, for a number of years, is top of that order. He could raise you a lot of energy, does a lot of things, can create some offense himself. And he did today, too, just from the first at bat of the game. He was getting base hits.

So got a couple of hits, couple of big hits, a sacrifice. Just seemed like every time you looked up, he was in something.

Can you sense from Andy how much it means to him to be able to do this tonight after last year?

GARNER: Yes, and I can tell you he didn't want to come out of the game. Got a little closer than I wanted it to. He felt pretty comfortable when we put 10 runs on the board and our bullpen's been pretty solid. We had a couple guys who could use the work. (Russ) Springer and (Mike) Gallo in particular haven't pitched in five or six days. They really needed to get some work.

But, Andy's been durable this year, particularly coming back from surgery. So if he would have had to pitch and I needed him to pitch, he could have. But I think it's fortunate we put a lot of runs on the board and were able to get him out when we did. But I can tell you that it's important to him. I mean, it really hurt him last year that he wasn't able to pitch. There's been more than one occasion, and this is a guy who's had surgery who volunteered to go into the bullpen here the last few weeks if we needed him to, so this is extremely important to him. Nobody's more competitive than Andy Pettitte.

I just want to be clear. In the first inning, was Taveras bunting for a hit or did you have a sacrifice on him?

GARNER: That's a secret. I can't say that. I can't say what we were doing there, you'd know our secrets. But we do sacrifice and he does bunt for a hit a lot of times.

With a kind of day like this for Morgan, how can it really propel a guy for a length of a series?

GARNER: Well, I hope it continues but it was a real nice day for him. He ended up with four RBIs, I think, four or five. He hit five. Big day for him. The fact that I didn't feel he'd been swinging the bat as well as I'd seen him swinging in the past, for him to come in in the first game of the playoffs and have a game of this magnitude was big for him, and for us, too. Put a lot of runs on the board and it turns out we needed most of them. Happy to see him swing that way and he's got to feel good about himself, too.

Short series. The importance of Game 1?

GARNER: Well, it's important, but if we go back last year, didn't we lose Game 1 here last year? Game 2? We won the first one and lost the second one. That's how good my memory is.

So I think it's always important to win a ballgame here, there's just no question. It's not impossible, but it makes it extremely difficult. To win this first game against, obviously, a pitcher they think is one of their best pitchers, that's why he was starting in this game because they had time to set their rotation up, that certainly helps, helps us a little bit.

Guys that you had not counted on in the playoffs before, Willy hadn't played, how important do you think that is for Morgan to have a big game, and the first time when he's in the middle of things, and Willy?

GARNER: Well, you start off with the veterans with Biggio having a big day, Morgan having a big day, but I thought Willy did a nice job, too. Orlando Palmeiro had a nice day, too. Came up with a bases loaded hit and dropped a ball out there that helped add on to our score.

So the veteran guys, and (Brad) Ausmus included in that, too, did a fine job. I think that takes a little bit of heat off of some of the kids and gives them a chance to play a game without feeling like everything's on their shoulders, too. Unfortunately we didn't get (Chris) Burke and Luke Scott in this game, but they're going to loom in there, too, somewhere down this road.

I'm sorry I missed it, moving Lance and Morgan, can you talk about that.

GARNER: I moved him for Morgan. Well, we've been going the other way, and Morgan, when he came back from the hand injury, I wanted him in a position where guys are going to have to pitch to him and he's going to get pitches. I switched him back because I didn't think he was swinging the bat that good. I put him back into position. I prefer to have Lance in the third hole, and as it turned out today, Morgan came through big. He did the job. Got it done. I thought he swung the bat pretty good today.

So that's a good sign.

Do you think their game plan was to pitch around Berkman?

GARNER: Well, it would appear that way. You know, he was deep into the count just about every at bat, with maybe the exception of one.

So I think it was probably that if they didn't have to, they were going to probably pitch around him.

If they don't walk Biggio in front of Willy, do you not hit Bagwell there, or are you going to hit Bagwell for Willy anyway?

GARNER: We'll see. The situation may come up again. We'll see.

But that's a situation we want Baggy in. That's why we have him. That's why we put him on the roster. It was a spot for him. We'll see how it plays out.

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