HOUSTON -- Carlos Correa slugged a walk-off home run on the first pitch of the bottom of the 11th inning and the Houston Astros evened this American League Championship Series with a 3-2 victory over the New York Yankees on Sunday at Minute Maid Park.
Correa homered off left-hander J.A. Happ (0-1), the Yankees' ninth pitcher of the game. Correa just missed a home run in the sixth inning when his 396-foot blast to straightaway center landed in the glove of Brett Gardner. His fifth at-bat ended with a 394-foot shot the opposite way to right and enabled Houston to square the series at 1-1 with Game 3 scheduled for Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.
The Astros trailed 2-1 entering the fifth when George Springer blasted a 418-foot homer off Yankees right-hander Adam Ottavino, his franchise-leading 12th postseason home run. Five Yankees relievers kept the Astros at bay until Correa bested Happ, with Houston finishing 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Astros right-hander Josh James (1-0) earned the win with his strikeout of Gary Sanchez that closed the top of the 11th with two runners on base.
Astros right-hander Justin Verlander entered Sunday 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA over six career postseason appearances against the Yankees and, one trip through their batting order, he appeared primed for another dominating performance. Verlander did not allow a baserunner over his first three innings and had recorded four strikeouts, all swinging, entering the fourth.
Things changed quickly for Verlander and the Astros in the fourth, starting with his leadoff walk to Yankees first baseman DJ LeMahieu. Two pitches later, Judge drilled a hanging slider 423 feet out to center, recording a 110.9 mile-per-hour exit velocity while lifting the Yankees to a 2-1 lead. The blast marked the first home run for Judge this postseason as signaled a sea change for the Yankees, who started compiling competitive at-bats against Verlander in the fifth.
Verlander fanned Edwin Encarnacion and Gardner to close the fourth but did not record another strikeout until Sanchez whiffed on a 1-2 slider to open the seventh. The Yankees mustered four hits and a walk in the interim, including a sharp, two-out line drive in the sixth that ricocheted off Astros second baseman Jose Altuve with LeMahieu rounding third base and heading home.
Correa scooped up the carrom and fired a throw to catcher Robinson Chirinos, who applied the tag on LeMahieu to end the inning and preserve the tie. Verlander capped his outing having allowed two runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
--Field Level Media