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October 13, 2018

Justin Verlander

Boston, Massachusetts - postgame 1

Astros - 7, Red Sox - 2

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Justin?

Q. The pitch to Benintendi, how critical was it for your outing? And I'm curious when you're in that type of inning do you think to yourself I've got to have this pitch, I'm going to dial it up 98 on the black?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: No, I think you're always in the moment. That inning I had kind of lost my feel a bit. Couldn't point a finger to why. But just to be able to execute a pitch there and get out of the inning. After the curveball before I thought it was close whether he swung or not. I thought maybe he did, maybe he didn't. I don't know. I was rooting hard for the swing, obviously.

But you've got two outs there and for me -- for me it was the tying run scoring was a little disappointing. Thought I could have executed some pitches better. But once that happens, then you've got to reset and not relinquish the lead.

Q. Half of your strikeouts came looking on the curveball. How did you have a feel for that pitch tonight?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Curveball was good. Curveball's been good for the last couple of months. Was able to utilize it when I needed to and fill up the zone with it. That was kind of one of my points of emphasis today was to be able to kind of keep these guys off balance.

It's such a well balanced offensive lineup, top to bottom they can hit almost anything. Honestly you've just got to keep them off balance.

Q. Maybe one of those games that didn't go like people thought it would between you and Sale and errors and hit batters and on and on. But you guys win 7-2, you put up four runs in the ninth inning. What does it say about this team to again find another way to win a huge playoff game?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: This team finds a way. In big moments they show up. From top to bottom, nobody cares who the hero is as long as we have a hero.

The homer by Yuli there late, the homer by Reddick and Carlos coming up with a big RBI single to put us ahead. That's kind of the mantra of this team: Kind of keep the ball rolling, let the next guy do the job and see what happens.

I think that's the one thing about our team is it's nonstop. These guys keep coming at you and there's so many different ways we can win a ballgame. Not to be overlooked, tonight was our defense. Specifically Breg at third base. He was a vacuum cleaner over there. He made some of those plays look easy that weren't.

And even though he didn't have the big swing that we usually see of him, that's just another facet of his game that makes him so great, that helps us win ballgames. I could point out things from almost everybody.

Q. You said you couldn't quite pinpoint what happened in the fifth. Did getting back to the windup with the bases loaded, did that help you find something to help you get out of that inning?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I had been working out of the stretch, or working out of the wind-up for a few innings in a row there. All of a sudden I'm out of the stretch and timing was a tick-off. Honestly it was a very consistent miss. I was missing glove side by probably three to five inches almost every fastball I threw.

And I wish I could tell you exactly what it was. I mean something threw off my timing, something I'll probably look at. But to be able to get out of that inning keep us tied, not relinquish the lead, that was for me the ballgame.

Q. You guys had a lot of runners on base all game and until the ninth didn't really break through. Did it feel inevitable you would, given all the team's been through winning the championship last year and the series this year?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: No, you never know, man. I think Sale did such a tremendous job bending but not breaking. Obviously he's not feeling as fresh as he usually does. I mean, I think we could all see that. But I have a tremendous respect for what he was able to do tonight and go out there and keep those guys in the ballgame without his best stuff.

And the traffic doesn't mean anything in the playoffs. It's easy in the regular season to walk out of a game and be like, yeah, we had so many chances and it just won't happen, it will happen tomorrow.

In the playoffs there's no banking on tomorrow; it needs to happen today. A lot of those moments where you don't score can be deflating in a way. So that's one thing that this team, the Astros are so good at, is not looking down on themselves that they didn't take advantage of a big opportunity. It's okay.

We didn't take that opportunity. Let's take the next one and the next one and the next one. That's what I mean these guys keep coming a letter you. So we were able to break through there late.

Q. A.J. was talking about the fact that you don't necessarily get a lot of ground balls, but the double play by Bogaerts to end the first inning seemed like a pretty big moment for you early in that game?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Yeah, definitely. I mean to be able to get a double play ball, which I don't get very regularly, especially on a fastball, I think a few of these guys, it was fairly evident that they were really trying to get on top of the four-seamer, and he got on top of it. Just a little too much. He hit it okay. Just right at somebody.

I don't get many ground balls, so when I do and I get a double play out of it I'm pretty happy for that. For me it was a big turning moment as well.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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