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October 8, 2019

Kevin Cash

Tampa Bay, Florida - postgame 4

Tampa Bay - 4, Houston - 1

Q. Kevin, last night and earlier today, you talked about having good at-bats against Justin Verlander. What happened with your guys in the first inning?
KEVIN CASH: I think the familiarity helps. He's still the best. There's no denying that. But four days, five days, whatever it was later, you know, some of those same pitches maybe replayed a little bit and we were able to have some quality ABs and hit some balls hard.

Q. What did that, the play where Altuve was thrown out at home, would you call that the biggest play of the game? What did it mean for this game and also for the guys in the dugout, just the momentum of that game?
KEVIN CASH: That was probably the biggest play of the game. I mean, you cannot execute or relay any better than that, from KK to Willy, T.D.'s tag. You're not talking about a catcher running around or some big lumbering guy, it's Jose Altuve. Everything had to be perfect, and it was. It was a bang-bang play. That's where you really see Willy's arm. We know KK's arm. Willy's arm just to show up. Not many shortstops can put it on a dime like he just did. Certainly, that was as big as any part of the game.

Q. Kevin, can you talk about Ji-Man and how he made Verlander work tonight drawing those three walks.
KEVIN CASH: He for whatever reason saw the ball well against him. I think all of our guys saw the ball better than maybe what we did in Houston. Ji-Man, he's got that patient approach. He fouled off, fought off a lot of pitches, two, was it three walks, two or three walks.

Just impressive ABs from top to bottom.

Q. Kevin, you had a lot of pitchers pitch well tonight. Can you talk about your starter? All the talk was about Verlander, no one was talking about Castillo, except for maybe that rough patch he had. Can you talk about his resurgence?
KEVIN CASH: Yeah. I mean, he's been one of our best here over the last six, eight weeks. And really impressive for a young pitcher to go out in that environment. We were just talking about it before I came in here. Set the tone and get in the strike zone really quick.

Diego, his stuff is tremendous, kind of harnessing it in the strike zone. That's the only concern you have, is he going to be able to find it.

Our fans were amazing. That can pump you up and sometimes work against you, get you over pumped. But Diego kind of controlled the moment really, really well and set the tone for us.

Q. Kevin, how big were those three runs in the first, just to kind of piece things together with your pitching staff?
KEVIN CASH: Well, you know, I think they were big. Any lead you get against a team like this were big. We're going to manage the game probably the way we did very similar if it was 0-0.

We knew going in that we were going to try to get the ideal match-ups for everybody. We weren't going to let anybody face the same pitcher twice. But the guys, the pitchers were just unbelievable, how they executed pitches. It just kind of laid into the next reliever that came into the ball game.

Q. It was Tommy who first got to Verlander, hit the home run. I know he's an intense guy, comes to play every day. Have you seen him ratchet it up in the postseason?
KEVIN CASH: He's dialed it in, yeah. Whatever intensity level he gets to during the regular season, he's got another one that he can get to in the postseason. I got to be careful with what I say to him sometimes during the game because I don't want him to pinch my neck.

But Diego's performance right out of the gate and then Tommy's home run, and then the play, the relay play, I thought, were really, really big for us.

Q. Kevin, Avi's performance, not only lately but the whole year for responding on every spot on the line.
KEVIN CASH: Avi has been a constant. He's played tremendous defense. He's gotten hot when maybe other guys haven't. He's found ways to -- the presence that he has in the lineup and our clubhouse, he's not the most outspoken person, but he certainly is consistent with the way he carries himself.

He's been awesome this year for us.

Q. Kevin, you guys faced Cole a couple games ago, 15 strikeouts. You'll have him in game 5. Without giving away secrets, what do you want to try to do better from a lineup-wise, hitting approach to try to get more hits to him?
KEVIN CASH: I don't know if you can do much better. He's really, really good. I think what you do is similar to what we just had with Verlander. The familiarity of just seeing him. Now, they're going to say the same thing about Glasnow.

You're going to see unbelievable power stuff coming out of two teams on Thursday. But we're excited.

Q. Kevin, what was behind the decision to use Snell as your closer?
KEVIN CASH: Well, we didn't really -- we didn't draw it up that way. As soon as Alvarez came up with a chance to tie the game, felt that that was our best matchup. We were fairly confident that Blake was going to be pretty amped up. He was. He got in the zone. We had a decision whether, you know, we wanted him after he got Alvarez to strike out, whether we wanted to go to the right-hander for Gurriel. Given the way Blake looked in the three or four pitches he threw to Alvarez, it would be really tough to take him out.

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