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Oct. 9 Eric Hosmer pregame interview

THE MODERATOR: Okay, we're going to get started with Royals first basemen Eric Hosmer. Questions for Eric.

Q. What are the challenges that Kazmir, facing him?

ERIC HOSMER: Well, Kazmir's been a proven guy in the league. He's had a couple great years and it's a guy we've seen a lot of in the past. We've seen him a couple times with Oakland and in the division with Cleveland a couple years ago.

So it's a guy we're familiar with, but at the same time, we know it's going to be a tough at-bat.

I just think we've got to stick to our game plan as an offense and try and get some guys on, try and get some guys moving and create some tough situations for him and get those big hits we need.

Q. Kaz has struggled a little bit lately. Do you put much stock in that?

ERIC HOSMER: No. Not really. It's a different ball game now. He's a competitor. That's one thing about him that everyone knows. He's going to go out there and give it his best effort and, which most of the times is pretty good.

So we know it's going to be a tough battle. But we've got to do whatever we can to even the series up before heading back to Houston.

Q. Eric, you guys learned last October how to play with a sense of urgency. What's the key in playing with that controlled aggression, if you will?

ERIC HOSMER: Just I think basically, as a team, we realize that today's an important game and we've got to go out there and do whatever we can to even out the series. And I think if we just take it one inning at a time, pitch by pitch, and just kind of try and execute and worry about what we've got to worry about, then we'll be all right.

But we can't start thinking in the future, thinking about, you know, Keuchel first game at their place. We've got to take care of business now and we've got to win this one, like I said, before heading over to Houston.

Q. Eric, when Ned was in here yesterday, before the game, he mentioned that when Escobar swings at the first pitch in the game, you guys react positively and you usually win. Is there any rational correlation or rational explanation for why, when he swings at the first pitch, you guys win?

ERIC HOSMER: No. Honestly, most of the time he does it, it ends up in a positive for us. There was a good run there in the beginning of the season where it seemed like it was every day where the first pitch of the game would come, and Eskie would start off with a single, and I know there's been stats and some of the numbers say we average over four-something runs. I think we win like 70, 80 percent of the time.

I don't know if that's coincidence. I don't know what that is. But when it works out for us and when he gets a hit on the first pitch of the game, it kind of just sets the tone for us offensively and at the same time for the opposing pitcher, it kind of puts him in a little hole. Just doesn't really let him get in a groove out there. Putting a guy on first with speed, right out of the gate's just definitely gets him out of his comfort zone a little bit, especially when we're talking first two pitches of the game.

Q. What's the level of confidence in Johnny going into this game, sort of a make-or-break game for you guys?

ERIC HOSMER: A lot of confidence. This is the reason why we got him. When you make a big trade at the deadline, it's exactly what it's for, for big games and playoff games. And we had planned to be here in this situation in the Postseason, and we need to ride him as much as we can.

He's a big-game pitcher. He's a guy that's proven himself throughout the league. Today's one of those games where a guy like Johnny Cueto earns his name, and we need him to step up for us today, and we have all the confidence in him that he will.

Q. Eric, with the top of their lineup and Altuve being obviously one of the best leadoff hitters in the league, and what they were able to do early in the first inning, what's the sense of urgency for you all, not just for the series that was asked, but to get things going immediately off the bat, knowing especially how aggressive they are stealing bases, just like you guys?

ERIC HOSMER: Yeah, I think it's big for us, especially yesterday what happened, Altuve started off the game with a great at-bat and just kind of set the tone for their team in that inning, in that game.

If Johnny can go out there and shut down the first inning, that definitely brings a lot of momentum into our dugout. For the offense especially to go out there and give him a lead and give him some breathing room.

But what Jose's been doing over there for the past couple years and the years he's been putting up and just the spark that he's bringing to that team every day is something special to watch. It's something fun to watch.

But at the same time, being on the opposing team, we've got to figure a way to shut him down.

Q. Having the four days off from Sunday to yesterday, probably some excitement built up after having that. How would you describe your emotion today with the quick turnaround to Game 2?

ERIC HOSMER: Well, that's the good thing about a quick turnaround coming off a loss is you get to flush it out quick and come back today and be ready to go. I think everyone's already washed away yesterday. Down one, but everyone's mindset and everyone's goal today is do whatever we can to even the series out and head back to Houston and just got to start today, and it's got to start with this game right here. So that's the only thing we're thinking about right now.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Eric. Good luck today.