Q. Sorry to interrupt the celebration.
A.J. HINCH: That's all right. I needed a break.
Q. For you a few years ago you come to this team and it was still a process and it was tail end of the rebuild, you still had so much to prove. Can you put into words what it's like to have it fast-forward and now be in the World Series with this club?
A.J. HINCH: When I got here no one talked about winning. And that was one of the first things that Altuve told me in my office, that he wanted to win. And that represented what the next step was for this organization. And obviously in 2015 we got to taste it a little bit. 2016 we had some disappointment. 2017 we're going to the World Series.
The standards that have been established here, the work that's been put in, the synergy that goes on from the front office to the clubhouse, from ownership. We really are connected because we all have a common goal, and that's to win. And I don't care whether you're old school, new school, analytical, traditional, it's about winning at this level. And I think this organization gets it.
Q. You're a baseball guy, but Boston, New York, LA, no one's ever done this. I mean, that's climbing the ladder against the best that have been in this game. How gratifying is that to you to be on a team that has that opportunity?
A.J. HINCH: We've earned it. I think our team has been singular focused from the very beginning. In Spring Training we felt we had this caliber team. And at that point we stopped talking about it. We were really getting towards month by month trying to put up good months to have winning. And we had a sensational start and then a rough August and then put it together in September and have had a nice run in October.
So far we have one more series to get the ultimate prize. But there's two teams left standing, and I don't care what cities they're from, one of them is from Houston.
Q. Can you talk about the performance you got from Morton tonight and to have McCullers come in, propelling you to the next series and what that means.
A.J. HINCH: Really, the last two nights. We came home from New York pretty beat up. We wanted to win in New York. We wanted to close this out as soon as possible. And being up two games, we go to New York and get beat up and come back, and needing some big-time performances, and we got it in both games, specifically today with Morton and McCullers. We couldn't ask for it to map out any better.
These guys came out throwing strikes, quality strikes, power breaking balls work against these guys. They executed a great game plan. Brian McCann handled them terrifically to come up with some big hits. And we look up and we got our 27 outs from two guys.
Everybody talks about Game 7, you're going to need 12 pitchers to get through 27 outs. Outside of a couple times, I warmed Will Harris up about half a dozen times. And Giles at the end. We were perfectly content with what Morton and McCullers were doing, because they were so dominant.
Q. Every World Series obviously is very, very special. The fact that it's only this organization's second World Series, does that make it more meaningful?
A.J. HINCH: Very meaningful. There's some guys in the clubhouse that were here during the build and then obviously we've gotten close along the way with the 2015 playoffs. And then feeling good about our team last year, falling short. And then this year getting the division title for the first time in a decade. And now the World Series.
So I have such an appreciation. I never knew what it felt like to get to the World Series in any job I've had in 20 years. And now I do. And I have a great appreciation for what it takes to run this journey. We won 100-plus games in the regular season. We won a lot of games in the postseason so far.
But it's not easy. This is a grind and getting through so many ups and downs regardless of how the season goes is awesome when you get rewarded with a chance to win a world championship.
Q. What did Verlander mean to you yesterday and the whole time he was here, especially yesterday?
A.J. HINCH: You know, I think, obviously he's a premier performer at the highest times, the most intense times. And you can't teach that. And you can't buy it. You have to have it or you don't. And Verlander has it.
So for him to come to this city and to this team, to recognize the opportunity and then go out and do it is pretty impressive. I think I've seen an incremental increase in every facet of our game since he arrived.
So a little bit of Lance McCullers, a little bit of Charlie Morton, a little bit of Dallas Keuchel, and along the way Justin Verlander was probably the best pitcher in baseball during that stretch. That kind of impact is hard to articulate. It's also hard to get.