"Again and again, he refused to defend Donald Trump," Kaine told CNN "New Day" host Alisyn Camerota Thursday. "I think the folks watching it definitely understood that Gov. Pence wouldn't defend his running mate."
A CNN/ORC instant poll
following the debate showed Pence performed better than Kaine, with viewers declaring him the winner, 48% to 42%.
Kaine also suggested that Pence's performance was going to get into Trump's head.
"A lot of stories suggest that Donald Trump's reaction to the debate was one of anger, 'Why won't my own running mate defend me?' That, I think, is going to work on his head a little bit as he goes into prepping for the really important debate on Sunday," the Virginia senator said.
"He had a poor performance a week ago. And then he saw a debate two nights ago where his own running mate sort of threw him under the bus. I'm sure that the Trump campaign is not happy with that debate. And that puts some extra pressure on him getting ready for Sunday."
Kaine also responded to critics of his own debate performance, and suggestions that he interrupted too often and missed opportunities.
"Hillary and I are strongly for LGBT equality, including marriage equality, and a Trump/Pence ticket is deeply against it, especially Gov. Pence. So yeah, that was an opportunity where I would have loved to have had a 93-minute debate instead of a 90-minute debate," he said.
Kaine said he "viewed this fundamentally as a debate about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, not Tim Kaine and Mike Pence" and that he wanted to keep the "focus" on the top of the ticket.
He also said that Clinton "thanked me for playing good defense."
"You know, I said last night, I never played hockey, but a little bit of that debate where I was just a goalie," he said.