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October 11, 2021

Kevin Kiermaier

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Fenway Park

Tampa Bay Rays

Postgame 4 Press Conference

Red Sox 6, Rays 5

Q. I would say that was a very eventful game, you guys rallying to tie it but ultimately losing. I know how much you guys were focused talking about the World Series and getting back there. Just how disappointing is it, for lack of a better way to put it, to be knocked out in the first round?

KEVIN KIERMAIER: I'm not disappointed at all. Would have loved to win that game and have another opportunity, but after everyone's in the clubhouse right now shaking hands, hugging each other, it just reminds us how special of a year it was.

I always say there's no moral victories. We came up short, no doubt about that. Red Sox played their butts off. Tip our caps to them. They were great. They beat us fair and square. You win as a team. You lose as a team. Our season's over.

But I'm not disappointed at all. It was so special to go to the field each and every day with those guys starting from Spring Training, and I know I'm speaking for everyone. We have such a close-knit group, and you hear things from other guys, from other organizations, and it's hard to come by what we had each and every day.

This is all I know, so I can't attest to that. I'm just going off what I've heard and what other guys say. I'm not trying to get too off track, but I am so proud to wear this jersey with all those great guys in there. Everyone involved -- staff, players, everyone.

Once again, we would have loved to get to the next step and get back to a World Series and try to take that next step. It just wasn't our time, but the winning way, it's going to continue here. There's just too much talent in our organization. Who knows what's going to happen moving forward, but we've got a great thing going here.

Once again, I'm just so proud to be a part of this and go to battle with those guys all year. I wouldn't want to do it with any other group. All the hugs and everything going there in the clubhouse is -- I'm at ease. I really am because I'm so thankful and grateful to be a part of this. It was special.

Q. Obviously, the big comeback tonight, you were down 5-0, and you had a huge hand in that offensively with your throw. Did you think you guys were going to pull this off?

KEVIN KIERMAIER: Yeah, I did. Even when we got down 5-0, I kept trying to tell everyone just have that calm energy. We're going to be okay. We just need to get some momentum going for us, which we did, and put another great comeback together, something we've done several, several times throughout the whole year.

But they rallied there in the ninth and did what they had to do to win the game. So it stung, but we could have just rolled over and lost the game 5-0 or quit fighting, but not with this group. We fought all year and had so many great comebacks. We came up short tonight, but like I said, the Red Sox played great. They pitched good. They hit great.

This series, they were the better team, and they move on, and we go home. That's the way it is sometimes. Once again, you win as a team, you lose as a team. Life goes on.

Q. KK, what in your mind was kind of the difference this series? Obviously, each of the losses was a little bit different, but what do you think was kind of the difference?

KEVIN KIERMAIER: They just -- even you think about last night, they had a big hit in a clutch situation, and then tonight they got runners on. Runner on third, less than two outs, would have loved to try to have something go our way right there, but that wasn't the case.

I go back to Game 2 when we got a 5-2 lead, I believe it was, and I made that catch. We had everything going our way, and then they hit some very clutch homers shortly after that to get them back in the game. Then they scored 14 more runs after that, it seemed like, that game.

I feel like if we would have got two or three shutdown innings right there, it's crazy how momentum works in baseball and just the flow of the game. You can't explain it, this game makes no sense whatsoever, but they had big at-bats when it counted, when they were down one game to nothing early in that second game.

Now here I am looking back, and I think that was kind of the turning point, and they won Game 3, and beat us tonight. They were a really good team. We knew they were going to be dangerous, and we had to play our best. This is a Division Series. The first one to win three games wins, and they deserved to win. They were a little bit better than us. Once again, you just tip your cap to them.

Q. You guys had postseason runs in 2019 and 2020 that also came up a little short, but those teams almost felt like they kind of maxed out. Is there a different feeling with this one that maybe there was something still left out there, that there were possibilities that this team could have done more?

KEVIN KIERMAIER: Yeah, 100 percent, with how good they were through the whole course of the regular season, I truly believed we were going to win the World Series, I really did, with our pitching and our bullpen, just with how many runs we can score offensively. We had all the right pieces to do it, but we just got beat by a really good team over there.

But, yeah, I wish it had worked out better for us, but here we are, our season's over. Man, I'm so proud to take the field with these guys. I can't say that enough. You think when your season would end, coming up short, I thought I'd be a lot more sad. Trust me, I am. This hurts, no doubt about it.

Once again, I can't. We won't be able to replace all the great memories we had as a team throughout the whole year, on plane rides, bus rides, on the field, in the clubhouse, what a great group to be a part of. I hope everyone holds their head high going into the off-season because we have a lot to be proud of, and I know guys are just going to work their butts off and be ready for next year.

We're not really worried about that right now. We're talking about a tough loss. But we had every, all the pieces to do great things and hoist that trophy at the end of the year. Easier said than done, but we were defeated, and no more playing for us.

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