In his ninth career World Series start, 16 years after his first appearance in the Fall Classic, Justin Verlander was finally the winning pitcher on the game’s biggest stage.
The Astros ace caught up with his younger brother, Flippin’ Bats host Ben Verlander, after Houston’s 3-2 victory in Philadelphia.
“Just awesome,” Justin Verlander said after helping the Astros take a 3-2 series lead and move one victory away from the second title in franchise history. “What a game.”
Justin Verlander shares a heartfelt moment with his brother
Astros pitcher Justin Verlander reflects on what contributed to his first World Series win while talking with his brother, Ben Verlander.
The pitcher worked out of multiple jams over his five innings of work, keeping the Phillies scoreless after a leadoff home run by Kyle Schwarber in the first inning.
“It was tough for me,” Justin said. “[I was] out of sync a little bit to begin with, but was able to make pitches I needed to. Really kind of had the slider click for me, the off-speed stuff.”
Verlander walked four and gave up four hits but also struck out six. The Astros bullpen then hung on for the 3-2 victory, giving the 39-year-old right-hander his first career winning decision in the World Series.
“After last night, I feel like [The Phillies’] game plan totally changed where they were like, ‘Let’s try to get on top of the fastball. We know Justin throws a lot of them.’ And they were trying to get to the heater,” Justin said. “So second time through the lineup, I was able to go to the speed a little bit more. … My last start, the off-speed was horrible. This time it clicked. The slider was there, the curveball was there and got some huge outs with those pitches. So just felt great.”
Ben also revealed that Genevieve “Vivi” Verlander – Justin’s young daughter and Ben’s niece – was in attendance. Justin credited his morning routine with Genevieve as helping him throughout the rest of the day.
“She didn’t care whether I win this game or lose this game. We just have all the love in the world, and she makes me realize what’s important,” Justin said.
“She’s completely changed my perspective of things. I know no matter what, I go home and I have this beautiful daughter that loves me, and I’m so glad that she was here tonight. I’m sure that she had a big part of me having this one tonight.”
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