Baltimore Sun

Far from done

Cor­rea de­liv­ers in 9th: Walk-off HR keeps Astros alive in ALCS

- By Bernie Wil­son Sports · College Sports · Baseball · MLB Baseball · Carlos Correa · Houston Astros · Tampa Bay Rays · Championship · Dusty Baker · Boston Red Sox · Pawtucket Red Sox · New York Yankees · Josh Reddick · Evan Longoria · Derek Jeter · Aroldis Chapman · Petco Park · Albert Pujols

SAN DIEGO — Car­los Cor­rea home­red with one out in the ninth in­ning and the Astros beat the Rays 4-3 on Thurs­day be­hind sen­sa­tional pitch­ing from five rook­ies to re­main alive in the AL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries.

Cor­rea drove a pitch from Nick An­der­son to straight­away cen­ter field, watched the ball for a few steps and then flung his bat. He was greeted at home by his ec­static team­mates.

Cor­rea is only 3-for-18 in the se­ries, but two of the hits are homers.

The Astros won a sec­ond straight elim­i­na­tion game thanks in large part to starter Luis Gar­cia and four fel­low rook­ies, who com­bined to hold the Rays to two runs and four hits through 62⁄ in­nings

3 be­fore man­ager Dusty Baker fi­nally turned to a vet­eran, Josh James. Ryan Pressly, the sev­enth Astros pitcher, got the vic­tory.

The Astros pulled to 3-2 and forced Game 6 on Fri­day. In the ALCS for a fourth straight year, the

Astros are try­ing to join the 2004 Red Sox as the only teams to come back from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven se­ries. The Red Sox beat the Yan­kees in the ALCS and went on to win their first World Se­ries in 86 sea­sons.

Other­wise, big league clubs lead­ing 3-0 in a best-of-seven post­sea­son se­ries are 37-1.

The Astros, who got into the play­offs with a los­ing record, are try­ing to reach the World Se­ries for the third time in four years. They’re try­ing to get there in a year when they have been crit­i­cized for their role in a cheat­ing scan­dal en route to the 2017 ti­tle that was un­cov­ered last off­sea­son.

Cor­rea also hit a walkoff homer in Game 2 of the 2017 ALCS off Aroldis Chap­man of the Yan­kees.

Ge­orge Springer home­red on opener John Cur­tiss’ first pitch and Michael Brant­ley broke a tie with a two-run sin­gle.

The Rays’ Ji-Man Choi tied the game with a homer to deep right lead­ing off the eighth.

Rookie Randy Arozarena con­tin­ued his re­mark­able post­sea­son by hit­ting his sixth homer in 12 games and Bran­don Lowe also con­nected for the Rays, who need one more win to reach the Fall Clas­sic for the sec­ond time in fran­chise his­tory.

Springer led off the bot­tom of the first by send­ing Cur­tiss’ first pitch onto the sec­ond bal­cony of the Western Metal Sup­ply Co. Build­ing in the left field cor­ner at Petco Park.

On Wed­nes­day night, he drove a two-run shot onto the third bal­cony to break a tie and lead the Astros to a 4-3 win.

It was his fourth homer this post­sea­son and 19th of his ca­reer, the most in fran­chise his­tory and ty­ing Al­bert Pu­jols for fourth all­time.

Af­ter Lowe home­red to right­cen­ter off Blake Tay­lor lead­ing off the third to tie the game, Brant­ley sin­gled to right off Josh Fleming to bring in Josh Red­dick, who sin­gled, and Martin Mal­don­ado, who dou­bled.

Lowe’s throw was off-line and the 230-pound Mal­don­ado scored with a head­first slide.

Arozarena pulled the Rays to 3-2 with an op­po­site-field shot to right-cen­ter off Enoli Pare­des with one out in the fifth. Arozarena home­red for the sec­ond straight game, third time this se­ries and sixth time this post­sea­son, ty­ing the rookie record set by the Rays’ Evan Lon­go­ria in 2008.

His 20 post­sea­son hits are two shy of Derek Jeter’s rookie record in 1996.

Gar­cia held the Rays hit­less in two in­nings while strik­ing out two and walk­ing one.

 ?? SEAN M. HAFFEY/GETTY ?? Astros play­ers mob Car­los Cor­rea af­ter his walk-off home run in Game 5 of the ALCS on Thurs­day.
SEAN M. HAFFEY/GETTY Astros play­ers mob Car­los Cor­rea af­ter his walk-off home run in Game 5 of the ALCS on Thurs­day.

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