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World Series Game 1: Justin Turner postgame interview

MLB.com

Q. I know it's a much bigger stage, but you have played in a World Series before. Did you have three? Did that big stage help you prepare for this at all?

JUSTIN TURNER: Yeah, I've actually been pretty lucky, I got a chance to play in the Connie Mack World Series. Played in the College World Series three times, and obviously this is a lot bigger stage and a larger microscope. But to be in those environments, you know, where it's loud and it's crazy, I mean, I can't say that that's why I'm having success, but it definitely helps and the experience definitely helps.

Q. I know it's a much bigger stage, but you have played in a World Series before. Did you have three? Did that big stage help you prepare for this at all?

JUSTIN TURNER: Yeah, I've actually been pretty lucky, I got a chance to play in the Connie Mack World Series. Played in the College World Series three times, and obviously this is a lot bigger stage and a larger microscope. But to be in those environments, you know, where it's loud and it's crazy, I mean, I can't say that that's why I'm having success, but it definitely helps and the experience definitely helps.

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Q. The cameras seemed to catch you changing bats between the first and second at-bat, why?

JUSTIN TURNER: My first two at-bats I was swinging a little bit bigger bat, a 34 and a half. And I got beat in a couple of times. So I'm going to switch back to my 33 and a half that I normally use, a little smaller bat. Good thing I did, because I didn't get beat in the third time.

Q. The home run off the bat, did you think it was gone? Did the ball carry more with the conditions?

JUSTIN TURNER: I didn't know if it was going to be a home run or not. I knew I back spun it pretty good. I knew I hit it really high. And I knew it was about 98 degrees. So when it's that hot here, the ball does travel a lot better. And I think I just said it outside, if it's ten degrees cooler, that's probably a routine fly ball in left field.

Q. Right now, baseball is marveling how successful you've been. Are things just working? And can you describe what it's like when things are just working as a hitter?

JUSTIN TURNER: Yeah, it's a grind. It's tough. Dallas had really good stuff, and he pitched me really good tonight. And even I think the ball I hit a home run on was a pretty good pitch. It was a cutter up and in the top of the zone, probably on the black, and he made quality pitches against all of us, all night long.

So it's not about trying to go out there and score 15 runs. It's about grinding and trying to find a way to do whatever you can to push as many across as you can and be in the moment. And you've also got to understand that these are some of the best pitchers in the game, that's why they're here in the World Series. You're going to get beat. You're going to lose some battles. It's all part of the process. And you continue to go, and you continue to go, and you play 27 outs, and every chance you go up you have another chance to make a big swing.

Q. What does it mean to get the game-winning hit?

JUSTIN TURNER: I think CT is the hero. He got us on the board early. He drew the two-out walk, stayed in the zone and gave me the opportunity. That's what he's been doing for us all year long. He's the spark plug at the top of the lineup, and when he goes, we go.

Q. After you hit the home run, what do you hear, what do you feel, what's going through your head at that moment?

JUSTIN TURNER: Loud. It was loud. That was probably just as loud as it was on the walk-off homer. This place was the most electric I've ever seen it, which it should be, the first World Series here in 29 years.

Our fans are fired up. They're pumped. The buzz around the city is crazy. And obviously we're all excited to be able to let them enjoy this with us.

Video: WS2017 Gm 1: Turner on big home run in Game 1 victory

Q. I know it's been four years now here, and you've been the starting third baseman for the last three, an All-Star this year, but that said, when you have a night like this, do you have take any time to reflect on your journey here at all?

JUSTIN TURNER: Not right now. I enjoy this one tonight. The way we've gone about our business all year long is taking care of one day at a time. When we show up tomorrow, everything we just did in the last three or four hours means nothing. You enjoy it while it happens, and then you go home and you find a way to prepare and we've got to figure out how to beat Verlander tomorrow.

Q. Swing changes and stuff are well documented. But before you did that, before you started working on that, did you think you could be this kind of player? Did you always think you had this Justin Turner in you?

JUSTIN TURNER: No. When I was in New York I was trying to survive and just take quality at-bats, and played with a lot of guys who put up big numbers. It wasn't until I met Marlon Byrd, and he started talking to me about the swing change, and I made some adjustments finally the last month of the season, and next thing I know, we go to Cleveland in September, I hit a couple of home runs, and we finished the year in Washington, and I hit a few balls off the wall at centerfield. And I'm like, oh, man, what just happened? I need to dig into this some more, because it's obviously getting good results from it.

And I decided to go home and meet Doug Latta, who is the guy that helped Marlon change his swing. And I was in the cage with him literally five days a week, for the entire offseason trying to nail it down and figure it out and be able to repeat the swing over and over and over again.

Q. Had you just resigned yourself to the idea that you were going to be a utility guy?

JUSTIN TURNER: I don't think anyone grows up dreaming to be a utility guy in the Big Leagues. But I certainly wasn't angry that I was a utility guy in the Big Leagues. I think a lot of questions, guys are asked and probably think about when they're first coming up and down and going back and forth, would you rather be an everyday player in the Minor Leagues or a bench player in the Major Leagues? For me I'd rather be in the Major Leagues the whole time. Never was I mad or angry or upset that I wasn't getting a chance to play every day, I was just happy to be in the Big Leagues.

Q. You seem to disagree with the 1-1 call in the home run at-bat. Do you have a mechanism to kind of regroup? You're down 1-2 in the count there, and you think you should be up 2-1. What's your thought process?

JUSTIN TURNER: When pitches get called that don't go your way and hopefully it's early enough in the at-bat where it doesn't end your at-bat. Just asked Phil where he had that pitch. He said it was a good pitcher's pitch. I told him I thought it was a little low and off the plate. And that was it. You step out and you take a deep breath and regroup, and go back to trying to battle one of the best pitchers in the game. So you can't gripe about it for too long or you're going to be walking back to the dugout.

Q. From your perspective, what did you see from Clayton tonight, and how good was he? You've seen him good many times, how good was he tonight?

JUSTIN TURNER: Yeah, he was unbelievable. And he's one of the most competitive people I've ever been around in my life. To see him out there tonight doing what he did to one of the best offense in baseball, those guys are -- that's a really good offense over there, a really good lineup. And they don't strike out. And he gets us through 7 innings and strikes out 11; it was incredible.

It was fun to be behind him and watch him pound the strike zone, throwing strike after strike after strike, and couldn't be happier for him.

Q. There's an obvious adrenaline that comes with playing in the World Series, and so many players yesterday said, I'll be fine once that first pitch. For Taylor to hit it out for you guys, first pitch, what was that like for you, for your team, and what did that bring?

JUSTIN TURNER: Again, he's the spark plug. When he goes, we go. When he gets on base, we're a lot better offense. So just to be able to be in the moment right there and be ready to hit, 0-0 in the first pitch of the World Series. And put that kind of swing on a ball, and put us up 1-0 after one pitch, it's incredible. And it just goes to show you how complete of a player he is and how lucky we are to have him in our lineup.

He's been so much fun to hit behind and watching him become a star, really, on this team.

Q. You broke the Dodgers' record for most RBIs in the single postseason, and tied Duke Snider for most in the career. What does that mean to be in the same breath as a guy like Duke Snider, one of the greatest Dodgers, whose number is retired?

JUSTIN TURNER: It's crazy. I haven't had a lot of time to think about it. One of the best things about being a Dodger and playing in the Dodger Stadium every day when I get to the field, I get to take the elevator down to the first floor and walk through the Dodger museum, basically, the Dodger Hall of Fame. And you get to see all the great names on the wall, all the Gold Gloves, MVPs, and Cy Youngs, and World Series trophies, Silver Sluggers and the retired guys, and their numbers on the wall. And there's all kinds of literature about every single guy.

I've talked about it before, it's something that I don't take for granted. It's something that I feel extremely proud to be able to put on the same uniform as those guys that have their name on the wall, and it's something that I don't just walk by every day with my blinders up. I try to soak it in every chance I can.

Q. Is the postseason just more fun? How are you able to let the moment not get too big when we perceive it as this gigantic moment?

JUSTIN TURNER: Postseason is definitely a lot more fun. Sandy told me -- Koufax -- told me today, 162 is work. Once you get to the playoffs, it's fun. And I thought that was a pretty cool way to look at it, and I agree with him a hundred percent. During the regular season it's work, it's a grind. Once you get onto these stages, it's fun. And just to be in the moment and soak it in and take a step back and look around and see almost 60,000 people in Dodger Stadium on their feet going crazy, it's pretty special.

Q. After a great start to the series, what are you doing tonight to unwind, shake it off and get ready for tomorrow?

JUSTIN TURNER: I'll take a shower (laughter). Get in my car, drive home and I'll have a really excited puppy waiting for me when I get home. And I'll probably go out back and play with her a while, throw the tennis ball around and then go to bed.