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October 25, 2017

Justin Verlander

Los Angeles, California - postgame 2

Houston Astros - 7, Los Angeles Dodgers - 6

Q. In your career, have you ever been part of a game like this, especially since it was the World Series? What was it like to pitch in that game and watch all of that unfold?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I mean, I've been part of some pretty exciting games, but with all that this one entailed to be in the World Series and to be down a game, the roller coaster of emotion, no. I mean, this is an instant classic, and to be able to be part of it is pretty special.

Q. The obvious, how different is it going home to your park with a 1-1 series as opposed to be in a 0-2 series hole?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: It's huge. I think the ability to win this game tonight, I mean, you can't quantify how much that means. I mean, we play so well at home. These guys play so well at home, to be -- for everything to be going right for the Dodgers tonight, late into their bullpen and for us to come back and win that game, I mean, that's a game changer. That's huge.

That's why I love this team. There's no quit, top to bottom of the lineup. Anybody can win a game at any time.

Q. What exactly did you say to your teammates in the dugout?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: It's so easy in this game to get down, especially when -- I mean, we have the TV on before the games. You see everyone saying how great this Dodger bullpen is and how our offense hasn't been going. It's so easy to say, man, we're probably not going to win this game, down two against one of the best bullpens in baseball. I just wanted to really remind these guys how great they are. I've pitched against them, I know how good they are. It doesn't matter how good a pitcher you are, this lineup can hurt you so quickly. And I guess maybe that was just my message, is stay positive. Remember how good you are. And just play the game. It's only two runs.

This team, since I've been here, and I know it hasn't been that long, but two runs is nothing. And all of a sudden two runs seemed like it was the Grand Canyon. And I just kind of -- I don't even know if anybody heard me, but I was just trying to remind these guys two runs is nothing.

Q. How much did the heat have an effect in this late in October?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Yeah, I think the heat affected the home runs. I think Dodger Stadium is pretty famous for at night the ball not carrying. Doesn't seem like the case the last couple of nights. I went and looked it up.

But as far as personally and pitching -- as soon as you're on the mound at the start of a 5:00 game, you're in the shade. So it cools down pretty quickly here in LA, as soon as you're in the shade, not in the sun. The bullpen is a different issue. It's tough to warm up, because the sun is literally setting right where you're trying to throw. Every time you look down and look up to go throw, the sun is right there. So you really have no concept of how your pitches are acting. Some of them I didn't know if I was throwing for strikes or balls or what. But as far as once you got in the game, how the heat interacted with me physically, it was a nonissue.

Q. Were you upset at all getting pulled after having pitched so well? And you mentioned you are near the team, how have your teammates picked you up being the newbie?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: One, I wasn't upset. Going into that inning if I don't give up that two-out walk, and then the subsequent home run, I probably hit for myself and would stay in the game. But when you need offense, as is the National League, especially the swings I took the at-bat before that, I kind of expected that.

But my teammates to this point, I mean, it's been incredible. They've picked me up so many different ways, whether it's with the bat or whether it's with the glove. It's been so much fun to be a part of this ride. And it doesn't get any better than this game. That was one of the most gut-wrenching, most exciting -- I mean, you can't have a better game of baseball than that. And for it to be in the World Series, it's incredible.

Q. There's so many young, likable, exciting team members, Altuve or Correa, but Springer has a special electricity. Seeing what he did and bouncing back after Game 1, what makes him different and special?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: His size, his athleticism, his ability to take swings the way he does and make a lot of contact. I think it's extremely impressive what he's able to do on the baseball field. You know how talented he is. And it's just a matter of time. He's not going to slump for that long. And really everybody -- that goes for everybody in this lineup. These guys are going to get going at some point, and that's kind of what you're just waiting for.

And this game, as exciting as it was, worked out great for us when we battled back against one of the best bullpens in baseball. They used so many pitchers early, late in the game we were able to take advantage of that situation.

Q. Springer freely admits he did not see Marwin's home run; he was in the tunnel. Did you see George's home run?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I was watching George's home run on the TV, the same spot I was watching Marwin's, as superstitious as we are. I told Marwin the inning before, I told him, he was going to win the ballgame for us. I didn't think it was going to be a game-tying home run, I thought it was going to be a game-winning. That's what I told him. I don't know if that's when the videos caught me popping out of the tunnel or not, I don't know when. I was kind of hiding. Obviously it was extremely emotional. And I was in the exact same spot as George's home run because, why not? The inning before we scored a couple of runs, I'm going to be in the same spot.

But, I mean, off the bat, they're yelling "go!" It's an off-speed pitch that he hits opposite field. I mean, as long as I've been playing the game, you've got to hit that ball pretty good. So we're cheering for it. And as soon as it goes, we're in the video room. I almost fainted I think three times; I'm not joking. Cheering so loudly I had to take a minute to recompose myself, so I didn't pass out.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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