Far from done
Correa delivers in 9th: Walk-off HR keeps Astros alive in ALCS
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.