Carlos Correa called his shot for the Houston Astros, then he delivered
|Toronto Star 14 Oct 2019 at 22:33|
Everyone wanted to celebrate the man of the hour, who saved the Houston Astros’ game with his glove, won it with his bat and then displayed one of the most fabulous walk-off celebrations ever seen in baseball.
Carlos Correa sent New York Yankees pitcher JA Happ’s fastball deep into the night over the right-field wall. The ball had not even landed when Correa took a step with his right foot. Then his left. Then, his right. Dropped the bat. Stared at his teammates. Put his right hand towards his head. Cupped his ear to the crowd. Took four more steps. And started hopping.
When he reached first base, he finally began his trot round the bases, raising his right arm and his index finger pointed toward the screaming crowd. He came around third base, started toward home, stopped about 30 feet short, took off his helmet, jumped, and shot his helmet into the air as if he were Steph Curry.
He finally reached home plate two minutes before midnight Sunday, was mobbed by his teammates and promptly had his jersey ripped apart from his body.
“He was born for October,” Astros third baseman Alex Bregman said.
It was a shot heard ’round the State of Texas, with the Astros knocking off the New York Yankees, 3-2 in 11 innings, in a game lasting four hours and 49 minutes, in an American League Championship Series classic that could be remembered for an awful long time deep down in the heart of Texas.
“Obviously,” Correa said, “it’s a moment that’s going to live with me forever.”
He can remember every moment of the game, even before it started when he predicted he would be the star, and even as he walked to the plate, believing he was going to homer, but don’t ask him what happened after he hit the homer.
He had no idea.
“But I know I was hyped.”
The best-of-seven ALCS is now tied 1-1 with the series headed to Yankee Stadium, but considering the Astros have the hottest pitcher on the planet, Gerrit Cole in Game 3, Justin Verlander back in Game 6, and Cole again, it almost felt as if this were Game 7.
The Astros knew they had to win this game, or the series would be over, knowing that only three teams in LCS history have ever recovered from an 0-2 deficit.
“There was no 0-2,” Bregman said. “It was never going to be 0-2. We were going to win tonight.”
Said Astros catcher Robinson Chirinos: “We had no choice. We had to win this game.”
It was the confidence the entire team showed Sunday knowing that Verlander was on the mound and sparked by Correa, who predicted to anyone who’d listen that he was going to do something great before the evening was over.
At 11:58 p.m. Central time, he worked his magic.
“He told me before the game,” Astros second baseman Jose Altuve said, “and he was like, ‘Josey, I think I’m going to do something big tonight.’ He really did.”
Yet, to be honest, Altuve figured that moment arrived in the sixth inning, when he saved the game, and Altuve’s glove, with a play that brought back memories of Derek Jeter 18 years ago in Oakland.
Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner, with runners on first and second, hit a sharp one-hopper to Altuve. It clanked of his glove, and caromed to his right. Yankees third baseman coach Phil Nevin waved D.J. LeMahieu home, only to see shortstop Correa run over and grab the ball. He fired an 87-mph fastball home to Chirinos, and LeMahieu was out by 10 feet.