"You go from one moment, trying to prepare yourself to pitch in two games, to going, 'All right, well, I guess I'm going home,' to, 'Are you kidding me?'" the Cardinals' Game 6 starter said Tuesday. "And then all of a sudden you're getting yourself ready to pitch again."Everybody would be lying if for one minute, one second you didn't think, 'All right, it looks like we're going home.'" Sure enough, they did. First David Eckstein, then Jim Edmonds and then Albert Pujols, touching home plate at Minute Maid Park, which itself went from deafening to deflated with one stroke of Pujols' bat. "There were 45,000 people, and when I hit that ball, it was like when you press mute on the TV," Pujols said Tuesday. "Nobody could say anything. That felt great." But once it was over and the Cardinals were back in Busch Stadium, it was over. Done. Kaput. Aside from the fact that they must focus on the task at hand and deal with an electric ace starter in the Astros' Roy Oswalt, La Russa presents a very good reason why yesterday means nothing when tomorrow comes, particularly in this case. "It's a great story," La Russa said. "It's a lot greater if we can take it to Game 7." The only way they can get to Game 7 is to get through Game 6, and it was evident Tuesday that the Cardinals are mentally ready. "The simplest and healthiest frame of mind that our club has to have is, 'Are we good enough to win the next game?' Period," La Russa said. "With all due respect to the Astros and Roy Oswalt, you have to believe that we can win the game. Otherwise, why should we play it? " There is more history to be written in this series. The Cardinals are keenly aware of that. Good luck writing a chapter as compelling as Game 5, but there's certainly room for more entries in baseball's endless history book.
John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.