10/12/2012 1:23 AM ET
Oct. 11 Austin Jackson and Justin Verlander postgame interview
Q. For each of you gentlemen, where does this game rank on your career list of best games?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: For me, personally, this has got to be right up there. I think this is No. 1. The two no‑hitters are obviously up there, but that's something a little bit different. This is a win or go home, my team needs me. And I was able to go out there and have one of the better performances I've had. For me, I think this is No. 1, personally.
AUSTIN JACKSON: It was just a great win for us. This was a pressure situation for us and we knew coming in it was going to be a tough battle. You've got to tip your hat to Oakland and what they accomplished this year. We knew it was going to be tough and it definitely has to be up there with one of the better games we've played this year.
Q. How about for you personally?
AUSTIN JACKSON: It felt good to kind of get things started, getting in scoring position for the big guys behind me and score some runs. That's my job. And that's what I try to do.
Q. Justin, Jim said that you had a complete game look in your eye before the game today. Did you feel any extra "I'm going to do this myself" kind of feeling?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Yes and no, you know. I think it was one of those things where I expected to go nine innings, but at the same time if it didn't happen, I've got faith in my guys behind us, regardless of what happened the night before.
Specifically speaking about Verde, closers blow saves, it's happens in baseball. We've seen them do it before and seen them come back the next day and be fantastic. I've got the most faith in those guys behind me. But at the same time in this situation, in a Game 5, I wanted to go all the way.
Q. Justin, you took one of the great champagne baths I've ever seen in the clubhouse just now. What was that like?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: It was awesome and horrible at the same time because you can't see a thing. Your eyes are burning, and all I want to do is look up and celebrate with my teammates. And all I can do is look down and shut my eyes. Having your teammates around you and dump champagne on you is a feeling I'll never forget and something I'll take with me forever.
Q. You did this last year. Obviously it wasn't you on the mound at Yankee Stadium. But then you went to the next round and you fell short. I imagine in your mind this must be we took this next step, now let's make it to the World Series?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Yeah, I think a lot of the guys on this team have experienced the postseason. And I think just experience helps to be able to perform in that scenario, just knowing how not to press too much and be able to use the adrenaline to your advantage. I think experience this last year are going to be huge for us.
Like I said this many times, this last whole month of the season we've been playing pressure games, where our backs are against the wall. We won the games that we needed to win. And I think that bodes extremely well for us as a team moving forward in the playoffs because every game is a must win.
Q. Looked like your pitch mix and your velocity was just about what you would have wanted in those first couple of innings, 95 on the fastball, so that was up a couple of ticks over some of the starts over the last few months. And also then the change‑up, you didn't go to the secondary stuff until a little bit later. Was that about what you saw and was that part of your strategy tonight?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I don't really know what you mean, because I did throw off‑speed early in the game.
Q. We didn't see a slider occur ‑‑
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Oh, yeah, this is a lefty dominant lineup, and my change‑up was working well for me tonight, I could tell from the first batter, from Coco, that it was going to be an effective pitch for me. It's just one of those things as a pitcher you go out and see what you've got and what's going to work for you that night. I was hoping my change‑up was going to be good with as many lefties as they had. If it was on, I knew it would make it tough on them, and thankfully it was.
Q. Austin, as a centerfielder, you can see the pitcher almost as well as the catcher can. You're seeing Justin, what's going through your mind?
AUSTIN JACKSON: I knew he had his stuff. When you're going into pressure situations like this, there's nobody better to have on the mound than Justin. And we had complete confidence in him going into this game. When you see him working out there and you see him with that bulldog mentality, you feed off that. And we fed off it as a team.
Q. For both of you guys, as the season wore on, there was a perception nationally, perhaps, for whatever it was worth, that they thought the Tigers should be better. I'm wondering if you felt the same way as the regular season went along and does this answer that?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I felt like we should have been better. I felt ‑‑ and at times I said, we were inconsistent. We were an inconsistent team during the season. We never let ourselves fall out of it.
And coming down the last stretch I think you found out what kind of team this is. When we had to win, we did. And it's a team full of veterans. We never worried about anything. We just went out there and just said keep playing baseball and see where it ends up. That's why we play 162 games. It's a long season, it's a grind. And we ended up where we wanted to end up, and that's first place. And we ended up playing our best baseball to get there. I think the team playing the best baseball going into the postseason is the most dangerous.
Q. Could you sense as the game wore on, you took a 2‑0 lead and you were shutting the A's down, that the Coliseum crowd was becoming less and less of a factor, and that was a big deal for them. Could you tell there was a difference tonight?
AUSTIN JACKSON: Not really. It seemed like every pitch, every play, they were into the game. And it was fun. It was definitely a competitive game. And when the crowd is into it like that it just makes the game better. You feed off the crowd. You feed off the energy. And we were fortunate enough to kind of quiet them down a couple of times.
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I think playing here was the toughest I've ever played in. I know Texas was tough last year. These fans were unbelievable. They were on their feet from out 1 to out 27. And we got some good fans at home, too. But they made it tough to come here and play. And that's what home field is all about.
Q. Justin, you had by far your two best postseason starts in your career in this series. Do you feel you took a next step as a pitcher, as a player?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Tough to say. I can't say I took the next step, I don't know. I feel like I've continued to make strides towards becoming a better pitcher since I got in the League and that's been my goal.
But like I talked about, as a team, that stands for me personally, too, just having experience and pitching big games and pitching in the postseason allowed me not to let my adrenaline get the best of me. It had the reverse effect, it allowed me to use that to my ability and get some guys out.
Q. Tell me your thoughts on this Oakland A's team, a team that was unconventional with a lot of young players, what was the experience playing against a team like that?
AUSTIN JACKSON: It was unbelievable. I don't know where people get this inexperienced team or they're just kind of coming out of nowhere. They're a good team. And they've got good pitching and they've got good hitters. It was tough on us. No game that we played this series was easy. And we didn't expect anything different from them. They're a good team.
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