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October 3, 2011

Justin Verlander


New York Yankees 4
Detroit Tigers 5

Q. Justin, it looks like the strategy is they know you're going to throttle down a few miles per hour on that fastball first inning, and so they're on the attack whether it's Jeter swinging at the first pitch or Granderson going after you for the deep ball. Did that come across to you as being obvious at that point? Is that anything you're going to have to change in a future game?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: No, it wasn't obvious. The one that Jeter -- I actually told somebody before the game, I knew he was going to swing first pitch. It was up a little bit and over the middle of the plate. That was just a mistake. If it was down and away, he probably doesn't do what he did.
Curtis, actually had a little bit of life on it. It was up and away, as opposed to trying to go up and in. It was two mistakes. Against this lineup, mistakes kill you.

Q. Justin, after you gave up the walk to Posada and they come back and tie the score, can you tell us about your emotions when Delmon hits the home run?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Obviously, I was elated. Like I said, this lineup, I lost my rhythm for three batters, and all of a sudden you look up and it's tie game. But this team has a never-say-die attitude. We've did what we've done all year, which is either come from behind or have big hit when we need it when we're tied. Whatever it may be, we always seem to find a way. Somebody different every night. And tonight it was Delmon.
That's why this team is so dangerous, I think. Because top to bottom, anybody can hurt you. And we showed that tonight.

Q. As a pitcher do you take as much gratification in a game like this where you have to gut it out and everything doesn't go great than a game where everything goes perfectly, smooth sailing?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I would rather go perfectly, be smooth sailing (Laughter). Obviously, tonight, that was not the case.
After the first inning, I felt like I found my rhythm. I was going pretty good. Very efficient. Right where I wanted to be. Then all of a sudden, like I said, lost it for three batters. Skip has the utmost faith in me and I appreciate that. He let me go back out there for the eighth. Got through the heart of the lineup. Jose came in and what a job he did. Coming back from throwing 35 pitches last night, can't be easy. I couldn't imagine doing that. The life of a closer. Thankfully, we had the best one in the league this year.

Q. How did you feel about the whole evening after the rain-out and coming into this, you said that you wouldn't be able to really explain it until you did it?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: It felt good. I think adrenaline is an amazing thing. I don't feel like it had any ill effects on me whatsoever. Obviously the life of my fastball was there pretty much the whole game. Probably actually threw harder than I would have liked for most of the game. I might be a little bit sore tomorrow. Like I said, no ill effects. Felt good.

Q. Jim said you're done for the series. He probably wouldn't take any chances on you.
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I haven't talked to him yet. If I need to go out there, maybe out of relief appearance or something, I'll get in his ear about that. Hopefully we shut it down here tomorrow.

Q. Justin, can you talk about just the pure emotion of tonight coming back home. Obviously fans have been so excited to have you guys back after seeing you go through New York and come back, how they embraced you tonight?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: The crowd was amazing. You tend to feed off that a bit. They've been great all year. This is a great baseball town. Definitely one of the best, in my opinion. They really showed it tonight. The emotions ran high pretty much all game. It was an exciting game. A fun one to watch. Fun now, nerve-wracking to watch as a fan, I'm sure.
Can't say enough about this city and the way they've embraced us all year long, especially now.

Q. Justin, as much confidence as you have in Valverde, what were your emotions at the end with Jeter, with all he's done, being at the plate?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Well, I'm just like 45,000 other people in the stadium at that point. I'm just sitting there watching. Obviously, your heart is racing a bit. You're doing everything you possibly can. If he throws a ball, you move seats. Everything you can do the superstitious baseball way.
He's done it all year. Not necessarily saying he's gotten in trouble all year. Sometimes it's three up, three down. Sometimes you get a guy on second. There's been a couple of hairy situations. He always finds a way to get it done. And tonight was another example.

Q. I think you threw five straight pitches to A-Rod over 100 or more. Were you aware you were gearing up a little bit? Did you feel you were humping up on the fastball a little bit?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Yeah. I was just thinking I didn't want to let him get his hands extended and run into one and really do some damage. Just tried to give it everything I had, and I hoped it would beat him. I ended up walking him. I know he's not having the best of a series right now, but he's still Alex Rodriguez. He can still spring to life anytime and do damage. So you have to be careful.

Q. I think you thought you had Posada on that one at-bat before you lost your rhythm for three batters.

Q. Was there any cause and effect there?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: What are you talking about?

Q. Did that have any bearing on that?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: What do you mean?

Q. You were a little unsettled I think because you thought you had Posada struck out.
JUSTIN VERLANDER: No, I felt like I just lost my rhythm. I threw a curveball, then tried to come back with another one. Overcooked it a little bit. It's 2-2. From there I got quick with my mechanics and lost it. I wouldn't say it had anything to do with thinking I had him struck out. That didn't play anything into it. That's the game of baseball.

Q. Is your mentality any different in game when you know you're facing a guy like CC?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: No, I make a conscious effort not to change my game plan. You know most of the time runs are going to be at a minimum. The only time it changes a little bit is when your team goes out there and scores one or two, and you know you have to shut the other guys down. That's why I was disheartened when I gave up the two runs in the seventh. Like I said, we've done what we did all year. Delmon came up with a huge hit for us.

Q. Looked like Kelly nailed you with a foul ball. Where did it get you? Did you have anything to say to him?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: No, it nicked me on my left shoulder. It was nothing bad. I gave our hitting coach Lloyd McClendon a little gesture and talked to him a little bit about getting out of the way. I said, he's got to save me there. It nicked me in the left shoulder. Nothing bad. Donny said, "Did that hit you?" I said, "Yeah." He said, "Go figure."

Q. You said you maybe threw harder tonight than you wanted to. Can you remember a game when you've thrown that hard for that long?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: No, I really can't. This is the first time I've been in this situation and felt good. 2006 as a rookie I was pretty fatigued and worn out at the end of the year, and I kind of look back at that and say that's what changed my career a bit, having gone through that and experienced that, because I realized how much work goes into pitching for an entire season and preparing yourself to be ready for October. I've worked my tail off since then, and I feel like every year I've been ready for this. And this is why I work so hard. There's no point in holding anything back now.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Justin.

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