Astros ace Justin Verlander and the bullpen kept the Yankees in check and late-game heroics by Carlos Correa ties up the ALCS at one game each.
Carlos Correa had a night to remember knocking in two of the Astros three runs and making a run-saving throw in the sixth to keep the game tied at two. Meanwhile, great pitching by a combination of Justin Verlander and five relievers held the Yankees to two runs, striking out 12 in the process.
Down one game to zero, the Astros found themselves in a must-win situation, needing the win last night to avoid traveling to New York for three games without a win under their belt. But who better to have on the mound than Justin Verlander in a game of this importance?
Verlander didn’t disappoint, throwing 109 pitches in 6.2 innings, allowing the only two runs the Yankees could muster in the extra-inning affair. He surrendered five hits while striking out seven with the only damage coming in the fourth inning via Aaron Judge‘s two-run homer.
A.J. Hinch turned the ball over to the bullpen in the 7th and never looked back. Will Harris came in to close out the seventh and was relieved by Roberto Osuna after walking a batter in the eighth. Osuna pitched 1.2 innings of hitless ball striking out two. Joe Smith, Ryan Pressly, and Josh James finished out the game, with the bullpen only surrendering one hit in their 4.1 innings of work.
Houston’s offense got things going in the second with Alex Bregman opening the second inning with a single and moving over to second on a Yordan Alvarez walk. After Bregman advanced to third on a groundout by Yuli Gurriel, Correa hit a double to left scoring Bregman. Houston up 1-0.
With the Astros down 2-1 following Judge’s two-run homer, George Springer greeted reliever Adam Ottavino with a 418 ft. solo shot to deep left-center in the bottom of the fifth to even the game up 2-2. The bats would then go silent until Correa hit the first pitch of the eleventh inning off of J.A. Happ for the walk-off home run and the win.
The Yankees utilized nine pitchers in the game, tying a Major League record for postseason play, which was coincidentally also done by the Tampa Bay Rays in the fifth game of the ALDS.
The two teams will now travel to New York for three games. The next game will be Tuesday afternoon at 3:08 CT with Gerrit Cole matching up against Luis Severino. There is an excellent chance of rain for Wednesday risking a possible rainout. If that happens, the schedule for the starting pitchers could change, allowing Zack Greinke to step in for game 4 on normal rest.