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October 7, 2019

Kevin Kiermaier

Houston, Texas - postgame 3

Tampa Bay - 10, Houston - 3

Q. Kevin, obviously, you hit another big home run. Where does that rank?
KEVIN KIERMAIER: It's up there. First postseason event at the Trop. Didn't really think about that until Tom Verducci asked me after the game. It's actually a good point. I didn't think about it like that.

Felt great. I said already a couple interviews I just did, we're a much better team when we play with the lead. There's probably most teams in baseball like that. But whenever we get a lead early, you can just tell how everyone just kind of relaxes throughout the whole lineup.

Then even after my homer, you saw G-man, Willy, Brandon Lowe, that's kind of how it's been the whole season. We're a team where we can come back too. But when we get ahead early, that's when we're our most dangerous.

For us to put three runs on the board, take a 3-1 lead early in the game, that felt great. That was huge for us. After that, just, Hey, Charlie Morton, go do your thing, go do what you do, and he did just that. Our bullpen did a great job as well.

Q. Kevin, of all the things you might doubt in life, did you doubt that this team would fight back today?
KEVIN KIERMAIER: No. We have fight each and every day since opening day this season. There's no quit in these guys. You know, just what we've done especially last two or three weeks, some of the wins that we've had just pulled them out of nowhere. Just shows you the character in our clubhouse from top to bottom, and that's just the way it's been all year.

I knew we were capable of being in this position, having success here as well. Tough first two games. Verlander and Cole were dominant. We're capable of doing what we did today. We have the talent to do just that, have an offensive outburst, and we know we're going to have a tough test again tomorrow.

But anything can happen in between those white lines, and I don't want anyone to tell me or any of my other teammates that you don't have a shot at this. We know what Houston's capable of, Verlander, his resumé and all that.

At the end of the day, we're out there competing, trying to win a ball game each and every day. We don't care who's on the mound. We've got some studs on this team as well.

We've got a little momentum going on our side right now. We're going to try to apply that tomorrow and pack the Trop out and go from there and feed off the crowd's energy.

Q. Kevin, the second batter Charlie faced hit a home run on him. He had 31 pitches through one inning, I think 52 through two innings. Standing out in center field, what made you think, Charlie will get this done?
KEVIN KIERMAIER: I wasn't fazed at all. I know what Charlie is capable of. I don't think he was fazed either. It's probably definitely not what he imagined or have his pitch count get up there early. But he still gave us five strong innings, and, you know, that's the way he's been all year. And we don't want anyone else on the mound in that situation, this type of game, what's at stake and whatnot.

Charlie's been our horse all year, and he's pitched in the big moments throughout his whole career, and once again today, elimination game, just it's hard to beat him. And he went out there and pitched great again, once again.

Like I said, I think the world of him, and him having the resumé he has, and him still performing at his age and everything, it's absolutely incredible. But the work that guy puts in each and every day, you guys aren't fortunate enough to see like me, but, man, more people need to watch what he does day in, day out, because it is truly incredible.

Q. Hey, KK, Verlander just talked to us and they obviously just announced him as starter tomorrow on short rest. After the first couple games in Houston, how do you prepare for him tomorrow?
KEVIN KIERMAIER: We're going to have to sit here and work on a game plan from an individual standpoint when you talk about position players. I'm going to sit here and watch how he threw to me the other day and how he's attacking me. I know all the other guys will do the same thing. It's nice to face the guy, even though Verlander is really good, but we just faced him a couple days ago. Short day's rest are not -- he'll be ready to go. He'll bring his A-game, but we'll plan on doing the same thing.

And like I said have a little bit better game plan and try to use video and stuff like that, what he did to each and every one of us the other day and try to be a little bit more prepared.

But at the same time, you still got to go out there and hit those pitches that he throws, because everything he throws is nasty. But with that being said, though, we're feeling really good about ourselves. Essentially, we have nothing to lose. We know what we're going up against, and this is -- we don't really feel any pressure, to be quite honest, from top to bottom. It will be fun to go out, play in front of our fans, and hopefully we can put on a show for them early and often.

Q. Kevin, you've been in the clubhouse longer than anyone. Does it feel like you've waited forever for that moment with that crowd, playoff game, your first at-bat?
KEVIN KIERMAIER: Yeah, it's definitely been a little bit longer than I'd hoped for. At the same time, being out there and being in that kind of environment here at the field that has been home for me ever since day 1, it's hard to beat that feeling. Seeing everyone with the towels and every fan through every pitch, it was insane. That's something that I've never experienced before, being out on the field when I was here in 2013, I was watching the game from the clubhouse. I wasn't on the roster.

Being out there with the guys we've been going to work with each and every day since spring training, great feeling to be part of, and I can't wait to get back out there again tomorrow night.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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