The Astros and Red Sox opendd up the American League Division Series Thursday with a star-studded pitching matchup between Astros starter RHP Justin Verlander (15-8) and Red Sox starter LHP Chris Sale (17-8)…the two clubs just completed their regular season with a four-game series in Boston, which the Astros won three games to one. Jose Altuve continues to amaze. The 5-foot-6 AL MVP candidate blasted three home runs in Game 1 of the ALDS.
Q. What was that curtain call moment like? I’m not sure that you’ve had one with the Astros and to have it in a playoff game with a sold out stadium and everything going on?
JOSE ALTUVE: I want to thank God for the incredible game. It feels really good to hit three homers, of course, but after the game when you see the scoreboard and say, okay, Astros won that game, it’s like, wow, you know, we did it. And every single game is going to be with a lot of intensity, a lot of energy, we know what we’re doing out there, it’s a playoff game, nobody’s going to take anything for granted. But I love the way that the team went out there and played today. We put a lot of good at-bats together and Marwin doubled, it was real big, but I think one of the keys was when Alex homers. I think he set the tone. The way he got to the dugout and he was really happy and real excited and then it was hey, I want to hit one, too, you know? And we are in this together. We are, in the end of the day, it’s about winning the game, we want to go out there — tomorrow his homer and my homers don’t count for tomorrow. So we got to go out there and try to win the game again. We are playing a really good team with a big history behind them, the Red Sox and we have to do everything we can to keep playing good.
Q. Talking to your teammates in the clubhouse, no one’s surprised by what you did. What does it mean to you to have that they have so much faith in you that they support you so well, and that they expect bigs things from their best player?
JOSE ALTUVE: I was surprised. I couldn’t believe it. But like I said, if I’m doing something to help my team, in a game like this one, it’s big. And I feel really happy, we played an incredible game, we played good defense. Verlander threw a really good game. I feel like I love him more and more every single day. Honestly, the way he goes out there and pitches, big heart in his chest, always trying to help people and that’s what I love about him.
Q. The home runs don’t mean anything tomorrow, but your name is now down there with people like Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson, they hit three home runs in a postseason game. What does that mean to you?
JOSE ALTUVE: You said it. Like Babe Ruth and Jackson. But it is great. Like I said before, I couldn’t believe any of my homers. I hit one and I was like, wow. And the second one is like, wow, what’s going on here. And it feels great. If I can do — everything I can do to help my team in this kind of game I’m going to feel happy to do it because one thing I can tell you is we have a lot of talent out there and we, the energy we brought today is the energy we need to play the rest of the games and I’m rooting for my team, I love my team, and tomorrow’s another game.
Q. That third home run what did you say after the third one?
JOSE ALTUVE: Oh, I don’t know. I got to wake up.
Q. Along those lines, what were you thinking as you were circling the bases for the third time around?
JOSE ALTUVE: Obviously I was thinking that it feels really good, another run, supporting my team, but in the personal side, it’s kind of like, crazy, I never hit three homers, so this, what happened today is new for me and I’m really happy that it happened in a playoff game.
Q. It looked like whenever you went to the did you go out after your third home run Springer kind of grabbed your muscles like what is going on. Did he say anything funny to you or did any of your teammates say anything?
JOSE ALTUVE: No, he hugged me all three homers. Like wow, hey, that was great. I think that’s who we are. One thing that makes us really good is that the chemistry between every single player. It’s not like, okay, he’s an outfielder, I’m an infielder, I’m from here or he’s from there, no. Like I said before, we’re all in this together. He’s a great guy. He made a couple of really good plays today, definitely it helped our team to win this game. I was surprised, he was surprised for what I did, and we got to continue to do this. So I mean I don’t really know what he said to me because I was like I couldn’t believe it and noise is all over me, but I know that he’s happy about what we did today as a team.
Q. Is it obviously three home runs was new for you, had you ever done it at any level, an as kid minor leagues, anywhere?
JOSE ALTUVE: That was the first question the guy asked me. Never.
Q. You guys won the first game in Kansas City two years ago, was there a different feeling in the clubhouse after this game after today’s win?
JOSE ALTUVE: I don’t know, I forgot about those playoffs already. But one thing I can say is that it’s a lot of energy out there, like I said, a lot of good feeling. Maybe we because in 2015 playoff team it was very, very young. We’re still young, but now we got Beltran. Even when he didn’t play today, he’s helping us a lot. Just to have him sitting on the bench there talking to us, that helps us a lot. To have the best pitcher, one of the best pitchers because we got Dallas too, here in the big leagues on the mound today, Justin Verlander. We got McCann behind the plate. So that kind of like gives you the leadership that we needed a couple years ago when we played the Royals.
Q. Justin said that the best compliment he can give a player is when you respect a player from afar and you know how good they are, but then when they come to play with you, like in your case he’s playing with you, he found out how really good you are and what it’s like to play with you, which he thinks is the best compliment you can give a player. What do you think about that compliment from Justin?
JOSE ALTUVE: A lot. He’s my teammate and he’s one of the best pitchers in the big league. I used to face him and it’s not fun. He throws a good fastball, a good slider. And when I watch him pitch from the other side it was tough and I was like, wow, that’s the kind of guy that you want to have on your team. Now that I have him on my team he’s even better. It’s like, wow, the way he goes out there, he always asks for one more inning, one more batter, he doesn’t want to leave the game, he wants to pitch and help the team. That’s what wins it.