Astros 3 Yanks 2

Series tied.

Jim Rome
October 14, 2019 - 11:25 am
Carlos Correa

USA Today

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The Yankees absolutely took it to the Astros in Game 1. Correction, Gleyber Torres took it to the Astros in Game 1.

RBI double in the 4th, home run in the sixth, two-run single in the seventh, and an RBI groundout in the ninth.

3 for 5 with a home run and 5 RBI to power the Yankees to a 7-0 win on Saturday night.

That meant the Astros were in a must-win game last night. I mean, they could lose Game 2, fall behind 2-0 in the series and be heading to New York, Then you have a beat team that will never beat itself four out of five games. So I wouldn’t recommend it.

In other words, the stakes could not have been higher. Their starting pitcher, Justin Verlander knew it. And so did Yankees manager Aaron Boone.

That’s why Boone pulled starter James Paxton after seven outs. It’s not that Paxton had been terrible, he hadn’t. But Houston scored one run in the bottom of the second to take the lead, and then had a pair of one-out singles in the third.

In the regular season, that’s fine. You let Paxton stay out there and work through it. In the postseason, with Verlander as the opposing pitcher, there is no margin for error. You yank Paxton and turn it over to the bullpen. And it worked. Chad Green ended the threat in the third.

Aaron Boone kept the Yankees in it in the third and Aaron Judge put them ahead in the fourth with a two-run jack.

That is a big dude hitting a big home run. 2-1 Yankees.

And at that point, it was clear that this was going to be a battle. A huge battle, with neither side giving an inch.

George Springer saw the Judge home run and decided to match it in the bottom of the fifth, with a solo shot.

Tie game. And at that point, it was clear, this thing was on a knife edge. This was a game that was not going to be over any time soon. 

And if you didn’t know it in the bottom of the fifth, you definitely knew it in the top of the sixth. Two outs, runners on first and second, and Carlos Correa. Pure magic by throwing D.J. LeMahieu out at the plate. Game changed.

I’ve got no problem with sending the runner home in that situation, because after that bounce, you were going to need a perfect throw home.

And Correa nailed it. It’s not just a perfect throw that was measured at 87 miles per hour, it was having the foresight to be coming over from short to even be in position to make that throw and cut down the runner at home.

And he knew it all along: "So as soon as I knew that it was going to crash in between, I was creeping over. When it hit him, and I saw the ball go my way, I just went after it. And I grabbed it, and when I looked up and I saw he was sending the runner, I thought, 'Oh, I got this guy.' So I threw him out. I don't know why he sent him, but thank you."

I know why he sent him. Everyone was doing everything they could to scratch out a run and the Yankees thought they had one there. Until they didn’t.

That was a season’s worth of emotions in one play. As Verlander said: "It went from 'Crap!' to 'We got this guy. We got an extra out!' It was just incredible."

And here’s the thing about that play. It’s not just it was absolute perfection from a 6 foot 4 shortstop. It’s that it was a reminder of how good Carlos Correa is. The guy is an absolute star. Injuries have robbed him, and us, of that recently.

But when he’s right, he can do things in the field that just about nobody else can. And he can do things at the plate too.

But I’ll get to that in a moment. Because there was still plenty for both sides to grip before getting to that. The pitchers from each team rolling in from the bullpen and dealing.

It was a reminder of how exciting and how tense October baseball can be, even when teams aren’t scoring. Like the cut that Alex Bregman took on a 3-0 count in the bottom of the tenth. I don’t play favorites; but given where he started, what he’s accomplished and how he handles himself, Alex Bregman is one of my all-time favorite athletes. Yeah I said. I love the guy. Pound for pound, one of the greatest gamers I have ever seen. In any sport. Hell this guy was swinging 3-0 if he liked. And dude damn near came of his shoes hacking. He puts a barrell on it and that thing is still flying. But that’s not the only moment like that. 

You had Gary Sanchez’s 10 pitch at-bat with two on in the top of the 11th.

If that stress was getting to be too much, and it was starting to look like, this game would never end, no worries, look whose back Carlos freaking Correa, in the bottom of the 11th. Jay Happ v. Carlos Correa. Roll it.

Ball game.

That was a rocket. Ever hear a home run SOUND like that? And how about that insane Stros crowd: making that house shake like that after five hours of crazy stress!

 Did you hear that? And did you hear the crowd afterward? What was louder – the crack of the bat or the roar of the crowd?

There was nothing fluky about that. Correa went up there with a plan. "Going into that last inning, I thought, 'I got this.’ I felt like I got this. And I had the right approach against [Happ]. I've been successful against him going the other way. And that's what I tried to do. I saw a good pitch down the middle, and I drove the other way."

Not only did he drive it the other way, he called his shot. Bregman said: "I mean, he knew he was gonna end it when the pitching change came in. He told us. Then he did it."

And of course, it’s the oldest cliché in the baseball book – the guy who makes a huge play in the field and then five innings and a few hours later, ends the game in the bottom 11th. If you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it a thousand times.

The actual truth is, Correa didn’t just win that game, he changed that series. Instead of Houston going to New York down 0-2, they’re going there tied up with Gerrit Cole on the mound for Game 3. If you’ve got Gerrit Cole on the mound and Carlos Correa getting into a rhythm at the plate, look the hell out.

And for all you clowns who had a problem with Carlos styling it up after the jack… You’re are the problem. If you can’t have fun then when the hell can you. You are all a bunch of wet blankets, and the reason why baseball can’t be this fun always. Do you, Carlos. Game 3 tomorrow. October baseball is the best. Can’t wait!