We finally got our first lead, and it wasn’t exactly easy, but we made it stand up. We won Game 3 of the NLDS the way we’ve won so many games this season, with quality pitching, defense and just enough offense.
Chris Young gave us an exceptional pitching performance, and I expect the same from Woody Williams on Sunday. We didn’t go into the postseason to win one game — we’re going to give it all we have to take this series back to San Diego and give our fans a Game 5. I can imagine how PETCO Park would be rocking on Monday.
We were talking before Saturday’s game, and I was saying you can’t win three games in one day. You have to focus your energy and attention on what’s in front of you and forget about everything else. I think we did an excellent job of staying focused on each and every pitch.
We were excited going into the series, with high expectations. Obviously, those first two games didn’t go the way we wanted, and here we were staving off elimination. But we got what we needed, and now we move on to face a great pitcher, Chris Carpenter.
It’s definitely the ultimate challenge. I wouldn’t be against not facing this guy, to be honest. The thing that makes him so great is he throws every pitch with utmost concentration. He doesn’t let down. He holds runners on, fields his position well, does everything that goes into being a great pitcher besides having phenomenal stuff.
Carpenter really had his breaking ball going in Game 1 at PETCO, and it will be interesting to see if he stays with his pattern or changes it. It’s a game of constant adjustments.
When we get opportunities against Carpenter, we’ve got to capitalize. I expect us to get some good at-bats, and hopefully we can come through and score some runs.
Speaking of great pitching, Chris Young really wanted the ball. He was excited to pitch in this game. He’s the nicest guy in the world, but on days he pitches, he turns into a different person; he’s as tenacious as anyone. I can’t say enough about the year he had — and the way he responded to this challenge. He’s right at the top of the list in so many statistical categories, and he showed why in the way he went after the Cardinals.
That sixth inning, when they had runners on first and second and Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds were coming up, that was a turning point in the game. Striking out Pujols was huge. I loved how C.Y. went after him. Then Edmonds got into a pitch and drove it toward the fence in left-center.
I saw the ball pretty good and got a good break on it. But the sun was a factor. I had it in my sights, but it kept carrying and got in the glare. Fortunately, it came out of the sun and I saw it again right before I caught it and hit the wall. I hit it pretty good, but I’ll be ready on Sunday.
I thought we did a good job against Jeff Suppan, making him work. I was trying to get on base, create RBI opportunities for the guys in the middle of the order. It ended up being a good day, with three singles, a walk, a stolen base.
We kept getting runners on base, and it was a little frustrating not scoring more runs. But Russell Branyan got the big two-run double, and Geoff Blum drove him in with a sacrifice fly, and our pitchers took care of the rest.
It was great seeing Trevor Hoffman get in a game and finish it out. I was thinking about that Friday night, how it was going to be a crying shame if we couldn’t get Trevor into a game after the year he’s had. That would have been very disappointing to all of us.
Being the perfect team guy, Trevor wouldn’t have said a word about it, but I know he’d have been a little hurt if he hadn’t been able to participate. I’d like to see Trevor closing out another one on Sunday and push this series back home.
We know we’re capable of doing that. We just have to go out and play the game and make good things happen.