OVECHKIN’S OT WINNER VS. LEAFS TAKES HIM PAST LUC ROBITAILLE ON ALL-TIME LIST –669 GOALS.

“If I had told you the series was going to be 3-3 going to a Game 7, I don’t think there’s a person in the building that would have assumed that all road teams were going to win. We’ve just got to make sure that last one is not the same.” –AJ HINCH.

October 29, 2019

AJ Hinch

Houston, Texas – postgame 6

Washington 7, Houston 2

Q. You guys went through this in 2017 at Dodger Stadium, Game 7. How do you get your team ready or do you —
AJ HINCH: If I need to get this team ready, then you don’t know our team. We’ve been through this before, and this series continues and goes on to a Game 7. I don’t know that there’s a lot of explanation or any fancy quote you’ve got to give you guys or them.

We have a great opportunity tomorrow to play a home game, Game 7 of the World Series. Maybe not how we drew it up in terms of how we got there, but it doesn’t take away the opportunity we have to win the World Series.

Q. Would you prefer that Alex Bregman not carry his bat past first base?
AJ HINCH: Yeah, he shouldn’t carry the bat past first base. Soto shouldn’t carry it to first base, either.

Q. Will Gerrit Cole be available tomorrow out of the bullpen?
AJ HINCH: We’ll talk about it tomorrow.

Q. Thoughts on the play involving Trea Turner in the seventh inning?
AJ HINCH: I don’t really understand it yet. I think we’re going to all get an explanation, from what I understand Joe is going to come in here.

It took a really long time for nothing to happen. I knew the rule, what he called, an interference. I haven’t spent a lot of time on the play. I knew they were very upset about it. It’s not a reviewable call. You can’t protest it. You can’t really do anything, and yet they go to the headset.

Sounds like that’s what they wanted and for whatever reason they couldn’t get ahold of people. But we should let MLB handle it.

That’s one of the many plays tonight that led to the game. But it wasn’t the reason we lost the game or anything like that. I’m as confused as everybody is, because there was no reason to have the delay from my seat.

Q. From your seat what did you see of Strasburg?
AJ HINCH: I saw an incredible pitcher. He was really good. And as I said before the game, he has an uncanny ability to slow the game down when he’s under any duress. We didn’t put a lot of stress on him. But the times that we did in the 5th and in the lead-off single in the 6th, he kind of backs it down a little bit, throws the secondary pitches for strikes, he locates pitches. He didn’t make a lot of mistakes.

I thought he — credit to him bouncing back from the first inning. It was almost like just exactly how the last game went where they score, we score, and all of a sudden he settled in and was very dominant. He’s got a slow heartbeat out there.

Q. Just to follow up on that. Did you see that he did anything differently after that first inning?
AJ HINCH: We didn’t win the big at-bats. When he walked the two guys and we had a couple of guys on base, he got out of that. We got the lead-off single in the 6th and then a couple of fielders choices very quickly and he got out of that.

So, again, I haven’t seen him a lot over the course of my career but I saw him pretty good tonight and that was impressive.

Q. I know he pitched really well tonight, were your guys pressing at all?
AJ HINCH: No, not at all. I don’t think anybody was pressing. We got beat by the home run and they hit the ball out of the ballpark on multiple times and we ran into Strasburg. That’s pretty much the explanation tonight.

Q. You mentioned the several situations where he kind of got out of it. What did you see two on with one out and he punches out Altuve on three strikes?
AJ HINCH: Yeah, that inning it just looked like he did what he usually does, which is try to get into the count, and then once he gets a strike he evacuates the strike zone and relies on the chase. Threw a couple of good change-ups to Altuve. Altuve is trying to elevate the ball and get the ball to the outfield, sac fly is good there, contact to the middle of the field is good there, he fouled it off, I think he swung and missed. And then he threw the chase breaking ball and got a swing and miss.

His breaking ball is really good. He has command of it. When he wants to throw it for a strike 2-0 he does, when he wants to throw it for a ball with two strikes he does. We got a little bit outside of the strike zone that inning. And then Brantley hits the bullet and Turner makes the play. We quickly could have been different had we had a little better luck.

Q. What do you make of the home-field advantage?
AJ HINCH: Doesn’t look like there is one right now, but I hope there’s one tomorrow. We’re waiting until the last game to have it on our side.

We worked really hard to get home-field and we’re happy to play at home. We have no problem playing at home. This place will be rocking tomorrow. We’ve won a ton of games in this ballpark. This series has been very weird.

If I had told you the series was going to be 3-3 going to a Game 7, I don’t think there’s a person in the building that would have assumed that all road teams were going to win. We’ve just got to make sure that last one is not the same.

Q. It seemed after one of the half innings you went and talked to the umpires. Was that about the delay? During the delay, there was so much concentration on what Washington was doing during the delay, were you saying, Why are you allowing this during the delay?
AJ HINCH: Yeah, by the time all the chaos ended, they kind of controlled the arguments from the very beginning of the play to the in between then Davey gets ejected. There was a lot going on. We’re not going to delay the game anymore for me to get my explanation until the next half inning.

When I did that, both Gary and Sam went over to talk to Joe, who was sitting on the on-deck circle in the first couple of rows.

At that point is when I was told there was either confusion or they wanted to check on the protest versus a — I didn’t know what they were doing. And then the explanation for me was they couldn’t get ahold of people. They were like 10 feet away from me. If they would have just told me, I’d have walked over there and told them they’re right here.

Q. (Question about Joe Torre.)
AJ HINCH: I believe so, but he’ll have to explain it. I haven’t gotten a full explanation on the field. I didn’t like the delay. The delay is not the reason that Anthony Rendon hit a homer. He’s a very talented hitter.

The half explanation I’ve gotten so far was there was some lack of communication between the umpires and MLB on a play that really had no reason to have a discussion about it in my book.

Q. On Verlander, how do you think he got into the game? Do you think he was tiring in that 5th inning?
AJ HINCH: I thought he ran out of gas at the end. And he had a lot of hard innings, they got a couple of baserunners on virtually every inning except for the 2nd. He had to work through 18, 19-plus pitches, 20 pitches, high-stress pitches. So it was an easy decision for me. I thought he left it all out on the field.

Getting into the game, it kind of felt like a National League game in an American League ballpark. They get an infield single, Turner is as fast as they come, they bunt him over, Rendon gets a two-strike hit. You look up and they had got one on the board relatively quickly.

Credit to them for putting together an inning with a little bit of small ball. But at that point of the game we have just got to move on to the next inning.

Q. The delay wasn’t why Rendon hit the home run, but could Will Harris have been out of sync a little bit? You brought him in and then he had to stand around a while.
AJ HINCH: Obviously that’s an easy go-to. I don’t know the answer. I don’t think we’ll know. It didn’t look like it on the Eaton pitch because he got the quick pop-up. And then all of a sudden Rendon hits the homer.

I’m not going to sit up here and blame any of that. It’s an unusual delay. It was, in my book, an unnecessary delay. But in reality, you’re just out there competing. I know Will won’t say if it was or if it wasn’t, he’s just going to move on to the next day.

Q. How frustrating was it not getting Scherzer in the game after he went to the bullpen?
AJ HINCH: I don’t control whether Scherzer pitches. If they want to pitch him they would have pitched him. I’m not that frustrated about it. We’re going to have to deal with him tomorrow.

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“Yeah, it’s going to be a big game.” –ZACK GREINKE.

October 29, 2019

Zack Greinke

Houston, Texas – postgame 6

Washington 7, Houston 2

Q. Going into Game 7, winner take all here?
ZACK GREINKE: Yeah, it’s going to be a big game.

Q. Alex said it’s going to be a fun game. Is that how you see it?
ZACK GREINKE: Well, I hope so.

Q. Any nerves or any kind of emotions right now starting the big game tomorrow?
ZACK GREINKE: A little excited about it. But we’ll see. Wish it was in a National League park.

Q. Do you approach a game like this, winner take all, in any different type way or was it just the same approach, Zack?
ZACK GREINKE: Just try to do good. That kind of just what I do is just make pitches and that gives us the best chance.

Q. Do you ever fantasize about pitching in a Game 7 World Series?
ZACK GREINKE: Probably. I can’t remember doing that at the moment, but probably.

Q. Do you feel added pressure given that it’s Game 7?
ZACK GREINKE: Not at the moment. But maybe at some point, you never know.

Q. What makes the Nationals so tough to go against?
ZACK GREINKE: They have some good hitters. Not a lot of holes, not a lot of strikeouts. That’s probably the toughest part.

Q. What are some of the takeaways from your first game against the Nationals in the World Series? Do you try to adjust for Game 7?
ZACK GREINKE: They had a lot of good at-bats. They pitched pretty good. And they got a good amount of hits. I felt all right and they made it tougher than it would ideally be.

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“Everybody believes in each other in this clubhouse. When I couldn’t even move my right arm the other day, when I was in severe pain, I just believed in the next guy up. I believed in Joe Ross that he could go out there and get the job done. Unfortunately we didn’t win that game.” –MAX SCHERZER.

October 29, 2019

Max Scherzer

Houston, Texas – postgame 6

Washington 7, Houston 2

MAX SCHERZER: The cortisone shot worked. That relieved the pressure on the nerve, and then keep applying heat. Our chiropractor, he does amazing work, he was able to go in there and make adjustment. We did two treatments of it and really freed up the neck, the C5-C6 area, along with the trap, spasm, really felt like it subsided. And even when I was warming up tonight I felt really good. I’m good to go.

Q. Why were you warming up tonight?
MAX SCHERZER: Because there were scenarios where I was going to pitch tonight.

Q. How long do you think you can go tomorrow?
MAX SCHERZER: Should be good.

Q. Normal start?
MAX SCHERZER: It’s Game 7. Let’s go.

Q. Two days or three days ago, whatever it was, you never could have imagined this. What are your emotions going into this just knowing you’re getting a chance?
MAX SCHERZER: I don’t know. Everybody believes in each other in this clubhouse. When I couldn’t even move my right arm the other day, when I was in severe pain, I just believed in the next guy up. I believed in Joe Ross that he could go out there and get the job done. Unfortunately we didn’t win that game.

But everybody had the belief in me, and the doctors and that if I could get right I can be ready for Game 7. Stras went out there and had the game of his life. We all believed he could do that.

We’re just playing great team ball and here we go.

Q. You’re a huge competitor. How much do you thrive in having this moment, Game 7 of the World Series?
MAX SCHERZER: That’s what you live for. For me, I need to get in my pregame routine right now, and that’s where I’m at mentally, here we go.

Q. What did you think of Strasburg?
MAX SCHERZER: Unbelievable, just to be able to go out there and pitch like that. They came out aggressive against him, but the way he just executed pitches, it was unbelievable.

It’s tough for me to watch. I’m still kind of in game mode because I had to get locked in to get ready to pitch. It was tough for me to see all the pitches from the pen. The job he did for us, the effort, that’s just world class.

Q. How much did you pitch?
MAX SCHERZER: Only a handful of pitches, just got off the mound, but not enough to affect anything at all.

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“I know. It shouldn’t have been that long. I don’t know if it was the noise or whatever it was. I know we had a hard line in our box and we had trouble reaching people because we tried to make some calls, we couldn’t do it. It should never be that long. That’s unfortunate. And certainly we have to take ownership of that. But it shouldn’t have been that long.” –JOE TORRE.

October 29, 2019

Joe Torre

Washington, D.C.

Washington 7, Houston 2

Q. Joe, can you just kind of walk through the ruling and what the rule actually does say on how the rule reads?
JOE TORRE: I brought it with me. Yes, the ruling was that Trea Turner interfered, basically — not basically, he interfered with the first baseman trying to make a play. In fact Gurriel’s glove even came off at that point in time. He did run to the fair side of those 45-foot line, but really the violation was when he kept Gurriel from being able to catch the ball at first base.

It’s a judgment call on the umpire. Sam Holbrook made the call. It was the right call. Of course then you watch Davey Martinez, and I can relate to that. When you wear a uniform you see — you know what you want to have happen, basically. And when you’re passionate about it that’s what happens. He was arguing, saying the way he saw it. And then he was told by the crew chief, Gary Cedarstrom, that — because he wanted to protest. He says you can’t protest a judgment call.

So he insisted on having them go to the headset. The last thing we tell managers, at least, you know, this is what I tell managers when we have our meeting on the first game of a series, is if you think a rule was misapplied go and ask the umpires to have a rules check. They can go to the headset.

And Davey basically was asking them to go to — just to check on something. And I think he was really aggressive and the umpires basically went to the headset and presented that Davey wanted to protest. And they said you can’t protest a judgment call.

The rule, let me read the rule: In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base while a ball is being fielded to first base, he runs outside, to the right of, the three foot line, or inside, to the left of, the foul line. And in the umpire’s judgment in doing so interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base, in which case the ball is dead. Except that he may run outside, to the right of, the three foot line or inside, to the left of, the foul line to avoid a fielder attempting to field the batted ball.

So it wasn’t that situation. It was a throw to first base and that’s why it was ruled basically an interference.

Q. When you say they’re trying to reach someone on the headset, who are they talking to?
JOE TORRE: They call replay.

Q. So Chelsea is interpreting the rule?
JOE TORRE: No, they went and told — basically, you know, it’s the World Series. We want to double and triple check ourselves. And that’s basically what — they said that Davey wanted to protest. I made the call. It was a judgment call. They said to the umpires it’s a judgment call and you can’t protest.

Q. Who were they calling to get interpretation of that rule, because we had a long delay there and —
JOE TORRE: I know. It shouldn’t have been that long. I don’t know if it was the noise or whatever it was. I know we had a hard line in our box and we had trouble reaching people because we tried to make some calls, we couldn’t do it. It should never be that long. That’s unfortunate. And certainly we have to take ownership of that. But it shouldn’t have been that long.

Q. Just the bang-bang nature of the play at first base, I would ask where should Trea Turner go once he has to strike the base? The base is only so big.
JOE TORRE: If you notice, he was running inside the line toward fair territory, toward the grass. And he was coming from that angle. If he had been running in the 45-foot line he’d have been coming from a different angle and the first baseman may have had an easier chance catching the ball.

But as you know — as you saw, the glove came off Gurriel’s hand and he wasn’t doing anything but trying to catch the ball. And my view, if he catches the ball, Turner, he’s fast, but he hadn’t gotten to first base yet.

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“We’re going to continue to try to ride this wave as long as possible. Maybe they enjoy our park and maybe we enjoy their park. We’re not going to ask questions, we’re just going to try to go out there and just have some fun.” –ANTHONY RENDON (1 HR, 5 RBIs).

October 29, 2019

Anthony Rendon

Houston, Texas – postgame 6

Washington – 7, Houston – 2

Q. Obviously you’ve had the kind of series that is frustrating for you offensively. Was there anything about going into tonight’s game that felt differently, enabled you to loosen up or was that par for the course for you?
ANTHONY RENDON: First I want to say welcome, because you didn’t show up the first five games. Where have you been?

Definitely frustration. I think it’s frustrating for all of us. Kevin Long was talking to a few of us before the game, saying that we barreled up. 50 percent of our baseballs or whatever might have been over 95-plus off the bat. And so I think we’ve been trying to put up quality at-bats, trying to put the barrel on the ball, we just haven’t become successful out of it.

The first inning where I had the little dribbler 12 hopper to second base, that’s a hit. We definitely take it, but I think that’s just how crazy baseball is.

Q. What is so different about playing here at Minute Maid than playing back at home, because you have won all three games that you’ve played here?
ANTHONY RENDON: We don’t know, but we’re going to continue to try to ride this wave as long as possible. Maybe they enjoy our park and maybe we enjoy their park. We’re not going to ask questions, we’re just going to try to go out there and just have some fun.

Q. Walk us through your frame of mind as the Trea play is happening and the long delay and replay review, then for you to come up there and hit the home run?
ANTHONY RENDON: I didn’t actually see the play happen. I was sitting in the dugout getting ready to go on deck. And then once they showed the replay on the big screen, then I was like, Oh. I was a little bit more surprised than I guess I had anticipated.

But it is what it is. We’re all human. We’re not perfect people. So we’ve got to take our punches and just continue to go out there. No one is going to feel sorry for us. So we’ve just got to keep on playing.

Q. When all that chaos is going on, how are you able to stay so Zen and locked in to hit a homer like that?
ANTHONY RENDON: I think — I really don’t know. You can’t let any outside elements get into the game. No matter if it’s the crowd. You’ve got 40,000 people cheering against you. Or whether it’s the weather or if we’re in DC and it’s 40 degrees, whatever it might be.

No one is going to feel sorry for you. They’re going to expect you to go out there and just perform as best as you can, and they’re going to expect the best out of you. Because I feel like people put professional athletes on a pedestal, where they say, Oh, who cares, they’re making millions of dollars, they’re playing a game for a living so it’s easy. They should go out there and be successful every day.

We try to just keep our head down and keep playing.

Q. How impressed were you with Strasburg tonight and the fact that he went so deep in the game?
ANTHONY RENDON: Oh, man, super impressed by him. Not shocked, to say the least. I’ve been watching him for a long time now. He’s had plenty of games like that. I think it’s just been heightened since he’s doing it in the postseason now, especially on the run that we’re on.

So for everyone else to appreciate what he has in the tank and what he has accomplished, I think now everyone’s maybe noticing what he can do.

Q. Can you speak to the approach you had against Verlander? That one inning where you and Eaton had 17 pitches against him and both drawing walks. How much did that play a role in getting him out of the game in the 5thinning?
ANTHONY RENDON: Yeah, I think we were just trying to be aggressive in the zone, kind of the same approach that we’ve tried to have all season. Try not to fish too much at baseballs, at sliders in dirt, off-speeds or whatever it might be. If we try to stay within ourselves and try to swing at pitches that we can put a good swing on and not give in, not give in any strikes, I think that we could try to knock around any pitcher. And we just happened to get to him a little bit today.

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“I don’t want to sit here and talk about me or the umpires. This is not about me or the umpires. This is about the Washington Nationals and those guys in the clubhouse coming to Game 6 and playing lights out, knowing that this could be it. And I’m super proud of them.” — DAVE MARTINEZ.

October 29, 2019

Dave Martinez

Houston, Texas – postgame 6

Washington – 7, Houston – 2

Q. Strasburg revealed after the game that he had been tipping his pitches in the first inning and a coaching adjustment was made. What was the conversation like in the dugout?
DAVE MARTINEZ: We need to fix — you’re tipping your pitches, we need to fix it. And after that he was lights out. He was really good.

Big pitchers in big moments do what Strasburg did today. I told him after the game, I said, that was tremendous. You picked us all up, and we’re going to Game 7 because of your performance.

Q. Can you explain from your vantage point the Trea Turner play, what you saw. And secondly, what set you off in between innings?
DAVE MARTINEZ: You know, I really — look, I don’t want to sit here and talk about me or the umpires. This is not about me or the umpires. This is about the Washington Nationals and those guys in the clubhouse coming to Game 6 and playing lights out, knowing that this could be it. And I’m super proud of them.

I mean — and in the heat of the moment things get blown out of hand. I saw things differently. But I’m not going to — like I said, I’m never going to criticize any umpires or anything, because they’re a big part of the game.

I’m just really proud of the boys and the way they came out and played today. That’s all I want to say about that. We’ve got another game tomorrow. Let’s come back tomorrow and win again.

Q. I know you don’t want to make it about yourself, but it looked on the replay like maybe someone made contact with you and that was really what kind of escalated it.
DAVE MARTINEZ: Like I said, you know, I don’t really want to make this about me and take away what the boys did tonight. They played really well. I mean, Rendon stepped up big, Adam Eaton, all of them. The defense, the hustling, Strasburg, Doo coming in getting a couple big outs for us.

Let’s just come back tomorrow. We’re going to Game 7. It’s a lot of fun. Let’s come back tomorrow and do it again.

Q. Is Max starting tomorrow? Why was he in the bullpen? Was there ever a chance he was going to pitch tonight?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Max is starting tomorrow. We got him up knowing that if the game is tied or we were up a run we might have to use him. He wanted to go down there and just throw and get loose. We scored some more runs and I immediately shut him down. I felt very comfortable with Doo, Huddie, and Stras right there.

Q. Bregman carried the bat past first base on his home run, later Soto almost carried the bat down there. Certainly seems like there was something going on down there. Did he wake you guys up?
DAVE MARTINEZ: We didn’t like it. And the fact that Soto did it, I’ll be quite honest with you, I didn’t like it when he did it, as well. It’s a conversation I’ll have with Juan. That’s not who we are. I mean, if he feels like he wants to carry the bat all the way to first base, then that’s him.

But I don’t like when our guys do it. I don’t like the celebration outside the dugout. I’ve said that before. That’s just not who we are.

Q. What explanation did you get on the call at first base?
DAVE MARTINEZ: All the explanation was it was just a judgment call.

Q. And have you seen a replay of it?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I’ve seen a lot of replays of it.

Q. What is your opinion of it after —
DAVE MARTINEZ: Like I said, I just don’t — I don’t want to make this about one play. It was a big play. I just don’t want to make it about one play.

The boys, obviously Anthony came up big, hit a home run. And we were celebrating, cheering. The boys were happy. And that’s what this is all about.

Q. Home-field advantage can often be a deciding factor in the playoffs and World Series. You dropped three games in DC, won three games here. Is there any way to explain what’s going on in the other team’s ballparks?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Honestly, no. It’s weird, really. I mean, we can’t explain it. I know we were trying to win games at home and just couldn’t do it. We came here today and, like I say, behind Stephen Strasburg we played really well.

Q. You said you got Scherzer up during the game and then shut him down. Have you talked to Scherzer on how he felt, how his neck felt after him throwing in the bullpen?
DAVE MARTINEZ: He said he felt good. And he didn’t like warm up to get in the game, he was just throwing to get loose. And after the game he’s ready to go.

Q. Did you see anything different out of Anthony coming into this game? He had a really good game. He was struggling a little bit back at home but this game he seemed to explode.
DAVE MARTINEZ: He’s the same Anthony. He’s really good. He hits the ball where he’s pitched. And he utilizes the whole field. And today his last at-bat, he drove the ball to right center field. I’ve seen him do that all year. He was on time. He was good today.

Q. I apologize for belaboring, asking about this, our job is to try to explain it and be clear. Did you protest the game? If you did, what did you protest and what were you told?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Okay. So I know the rules. I know you can’t protest a judgment call. I wanted him to go look at — just look at the play, and like a rule check. We were told before the series started that we can ask for a rule check. But part of me just said, Hey, we’ll protest the game. I know we can. Just check the rules. And they did that.

Q. Could I just ask what specifically you were protesting?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Honestly nothing, because I knew that you couldn’t. I mean, I wanted them to go look at the replay. Go look and just give me a rules check, that’s all. They came back and honestly, that was it. I dropped it. Done. They went and checked. They spent a few minutes. I’ve done it before knowing that you can’t do anything about it. And then things escalated.

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