|1:08 PM PT2:08 PM MT3:08 PM CT4:08 PM ET16:08 ET20:08 GMT4:08 1:08 PM MST3:08 PM EST3:38 PM VEN0:08 UAE (+1)3:08 PM CT, October 14, 2017
Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas Attendance: 43,193
Correa walk-off 2B gives Astros 2-1 victory over Yankees
(TSX / STATS) -- HOUSTON -- The adulation heaped upon right-hander Justin Verlander since his waiver-deadline arrival from Detroit had been steady and sincere, a reflection of the respect he has garnered after an exceptional career.
His teammates hoped that would continue in earnest once Verlander took his spot in the Houston rotation after the calendar flipped to September.
On Saturday at Minute Maid Park, Verlander delivered upon that promise when, combined with a walk-off double from Carlos Correa, led the Astros to a riveting 2-1 victory over the New York Yankees in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series.
With Jose Altuve on first base after his one-out single in the ninth inning, Correa drilled a 3-2 fastball from Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman (0-1) into right-center field.
When Altuve rounded the bases, Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge made his relay toss to shortstop Didi Gregorius, whose subsequent throw home handcuffed catcher Gary Sanchez, allowing Altuve to score.
Altuve and Correa each had two hits, with Correa scoring once and driving in both runs. The Astros take a 2-0 series lead to New York for Game 3 at Yankee Stadium on Monday.
"In the last inning when we were playing defense ... or warming up and I tell Altuve, 'We got to do this for the team, we got to come through right now in this inning'," Correa said. "He's like, 'OK, let's do it.' So he got a base hit and I said, 'OK, I got to do something here, we talked about it.'
So, 3-2 count, I was just trying to get on top of a fastball and he (Chapman) threw a good fastball to hit and I hit it in the gap.
"The whole time I think that was going to be a chance (for an out at the plate) because he (Judge) cut it off really good. But then when I saw him (Altuve) running I was like, 'Oh God,' and then, obviously, he beat it out."
Verlander (1-0) produced an otherworldly effort, working nine innings while allowing one run, five hits and one walk with 13 strikeouts. He threw 124 pitches, the third-most in his postseason career, including a whopping 93 strikes.
Verlander was at 97 pitches through seven innings and returned to strike out Todd Frazier, Chase Headley and Brett Gardner in the eighth.
After that feat, it was obvious that the ball would be his again when the ninth rolled around.
"And really after the eighth inning he didn't even ask (if Verlander was too fatigued to continue)," Verlander said of Astros manager A.J. Hinch. "I don't think he needed to.
"He asked after the seventh and I kind of like probably wasn't the nicest guy to him and just like, 'Yeah, I'm good.' And then there was no conversation after the eighth. It was mine to win or lose."
Correa turned around a fastball from Yankees starter Luis Severino for an opposite-field homer in the fourth, with a young fan in the first row of the outfield seats deflecting the ball into the stands. A subsequent review determined that there was no fan interference, putting the Yankees in a 1-0 hole and leaving Judge to lament how he just missed robbing Correa.
"I got back there a little late," said Judge, who finished 0-for-4 at the plate with two strikeouts. "I just wasn't able to get back and get a good read to the wall and get up there and make a play. Just wasn't able to make the play."
With two outs in the fifth, after striking out Greg Bird and Starlin Castro to open the inning, Verlander surrendered consecutive doubles to Aaron Hicks and Frazier, the second lodging between the padding and chain-link fence fronting the visiting bullpen in left-center field.
Hicks scored on the Frazier ground-rule double, but Verlander induced a flyout from Headley to preserve the tie and set the table to keep pitching in a manner matching the expectations.
"He pitched well. He pitched really well,"Frazier said. "He's been doing it his whole career. He mixes pitches well.
"His slider was working great today. I was lucky to hit one that was out over the plate. You tip your cap to a guy like that."
NOTES: Astros LF Marwin Gonzalez and his wife, Noel, welcomed their third child, a boy, early Saturday morning. Gonzalez dropped off his wife at the hospital before Game 1 and returned immediately after fulfilling media obligations. ... Yankees manager Joe Girardi celebrated his 53rd birthday. In five previous postseason appearances as Yankees manager, Girardi managed on his birthday once: a 3-0 loss to the Detroit Tigers in Game 2 of the 2012 ALCS. ... At 23 years, 236 days old, RHP Luis Severino became the second-youngest Yankees pitcher to start an ALCS game. Dave Righetti was 22 years, 321 days old when he started Game 3 of the 1981 ALCS at Oakland. ... The Astros completed their Aug. 31 trade with Detroit for RHP Justin Verlander, receiving OF Juan Ramirez as the player to be named. Ramirez spent 2017 with the Gulf Coast League Tigers West.
Updated October 14, 2017