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October 18, 2019

Aaron Hicks

New York, New York - postgame 5

New York - 4, Houston - 1

Q. When you look at the way that Verlander was able to settle down, how big was it you were able to get him when you did?
AARON HICKS: That was the game plan to strike early. Get some good pitches to hit early in the count and try to be aggressive towards him early in the game, and we were able to score four off of him.

Q. And the quality of at-bats that you're having with such a long layoff, do you attribute that to you just had enough at-bats in Tampa? Is there something about the adrenaline that helps? How do you get in the flow so quickly?
AARON HICKS: You know, it has a lot to do with the people that helped me get here, the staff down there at the minor league complex really got me going, giving me whatever I needed, machines, BP on the field, all the stuff to get me prepared for the postseason. And it's pretty much those people that got me ready.

And then when I got here, obviously playing in the games is the adrenaline, it's being able to compete and wanting to compete and be here is kind of what's got me here.

Q. The Astros did not announce who they will start tomorrow. As a hitter how sort of unusual is that experience going into a game like that, especially a playoff game? In what ways does that affect how you prepare for it?
AARON HICKS: I mean, not knowing -- it's kind of been a part of this game now. You've got guys that are openers, so it's kind of one of those deals where you kind of have to get ready for anything. But you just prepare the same. You do video on pretty much all of their bullpen guys, because it's probably going to be a bullpen guy that starts. And once the word gets out of who's starting, I feel like we have enough time to look at video and get a solid game plan.

Q. After you got hurt some people wondered if you'd actually ever make it back. Did that cross your mind and how do you stay positive in a situation like that?
AARON HICKS: It was kind of one of those random things for me. It was to a point where I got my second opinion and it was the worst thing to hear. To hear you're going to have Tommy John and your season is going to end is something that isn't what you want to hear.

But I was -- good thing I was messing around in the backyard with my buddy and kind of started throwing because if I didn't do that, I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't have this opportunity to play in the postseason, and grind and try to win with my team.

Q. After you got the lead for the team, Paxton was awesome. What most impressed you about him and the way he was able to stay in there?
AARON HICKS: He was attacking the zone really well. You could tell his fastball was working and slider was working. And he was attacking the zone, and that's what you need to do against hitters like this. He was pitching in, he was pitching effectively, and he was getting strikeouts when he needed it. And for him, that's extremely awesome to see because he's been attacking the zone well.

Q. On the home run you kind of dropped your bat and the stadium was kind of quiet for a second, because nobody was sure it was going to be fair or not. What was that moment like? Were you just staring at the pole? Did you feel that the stadium was waiting to see what was going to happen there?
AARON HICKS: No, I felt like I hit -- I knew I hit it well. I felt like I stayed inside the ball well enough for it to be fair. And that's kind of like my thing, kind of staying up on home runs like that, especially when I know I've got it. It definitely had a lot more spin on it than I thought. But it was able to stay fair and put us up right there.

Q. Can you take us through that at-bat pitch by pitch, like what you were thinking?
AARON HICKS: What I was thinking?

Q. Like, that second pitch seems pretty close to the one you swung through. I'm wondering if you saw something there.
AARON HICKS: I mean, the first three pitches seemed to go kind of quick. I just felt like I just needed to slow down and see the ball.

I think I got two fastballs after that up in the zone and I saw them very well. That's kind of where I was at. I needed to see -- needed a fastball to get comfortable. And then that's kind of where the confidence started to build that all I need to do was see the pitch, see the pitch and read the pitch.

And that's kind of what I've been doing this whole postseason is kind of seeing the ball and reacting. I was able to get a slider right there up in the zone and I was able to hit it well and keep it fair.

Q. How do you slow yourself down there after the first couple?
AARON HICKS: You've got to breathe. That's what it comes down to. Kind of breathe through it. I tend to take a long time in the box and kind of breathe through every single pitch. That's kind of what calmed me down.

Q. Obviously the first five games in the series or four games in the series, there's a lot of missed opportunities on offense, but tonight obviously you get the big home run. What can this do for you guys as an offense? Obviously Verlander settled down, but what can finally getting that big hit do for you guys?
AARON HICKS: I mean, we got opportunity today, and we took advantage of it. That's huge for an offense to be able to take advantage of an opportunity and score runs the way we do. We're a very effective team when we're seeing the ball well and we're hitting pitches where they need to be hit. That's kind of what we need to do.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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