The Astros infield had a conversation while Josh James warmed up in front of them. Game 2 of the American League Championship Series was tied at 2 in the 11th inning, and James was brought on to face Gary Sanchez with two on and two out. Carlos Correa was due to leadoff the bottom of the inning, and he told his three teammates that he was going to end the game himself.
James struck out Sanchez to escape the inning, and on the first pitch in the bottom of the 11th Correa delivered on his promise, smacking a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the rightfield wall.
"He was born for October," Astros third baseman Alex Bregman said. "He's unbelievable."
Correa, who was given extra rest the final week of the season as he nursed a back injury, had been struggling this postseaso. He entered game two just 3-for-22 through the first six games of the Astros' playoff run, but he began to show signs of turning things around early. His night started with a second-inning RBI double. He narrowly missed a homer in the sixth, before leveling the ALCS at a game apiece in the 11th.
"He's been busting his ass working on his swing," Bregman said. "It looked pretty damn good tonight."
Happ finished the 10th inning for the Yankees, and with their bullpen thinning Correa knew the lefty would be back out for the 11th. He had faced Happ 12 times prior to his at-bat Sunday, collecting five hits, including a home run, as well as a walk.
"I've been successful against him going the other way," Correa said. "And that's what I try to do, I saw a good pitch down the middle and I drove the other way."
Correa knew the game was over the moment he made contact, too. The 25-year-old slugger dropped his bat and stared at the ball sailing into the right field seat as he put his hand up to his ear to listen to the ecstatic crowd at Minute Maid Park.
It wasn't the first time Correa has come up with late-inning heroics in the playoffs, and it's not even the first time he's come up with late inning heroics in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Yankees. Two years ago, he drove home Jose Altuve from first with a ninth inning walk-off double.
"History repeated itself, and Correa walked-off Game 2 of the ALCS again," Bregman joked.
The Astros now turn to ace Gerrit Cole for a pivotal Game 3 against the Yankees on Tuesday.