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Carlos Correa hits walk-off home run in 11th inning as Astros win 3-2 in ALCS Game 2

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Offense was hard to come by on Sunday night in Houston. Carlos Correa opened the scoring in the bottom of the second with a ground ball double down the left field line off of James Paxton. The Yankees answered back in the top of the fourth when Aaron Judge creamed a hanging slider from Justin Verlander over the fence in right-center field. George Springer tied the game at two apiece with a no-doubt solo homer to left-center on the first pitch he saw from Adam Ottavino, who had just entered the game. That was it until the bottom of the 11th inning.

Verlander finished the night allowing the two runs on five hits and a pair of walks with seven strikeouts across 6 2/3 innings. Paxton lasted just 2 1/3 innings, yielding the lone run on four hits and two walks with three strikeouts.

Ottavino aside, the Yankees’ bullpen was incredible, holding the Astros scoreless otherwise. After Roberto Osuna got five outs to keep the game tied, Aroldis Chapman worked around a walk with three strikeouts in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings.

The two sides kept each other off the board in the 10th. Joe Smith worked the top of the 10th for the Astros while CC Sabathia, Jonathan Loaisiga, and J.A. Happ were called on in the bottom half.

Smith remained in the game for the top of the 11th, getting two quick outs before issuing a walk, spelling the end of his stint. Ryan Pressly entered, gave up a single to Brett Gardner, then manager A.J. Hinch took him out, too. Josh James finally struck out Gary Sánchez to end what was a controversial at-bat. Sánchez appeared to swing and miss on pitch No. 9 for strike three, but home plate umpire Cory Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the pitch, giving him new life. James fired back with a fastball a couple inches off the plate that Blaser generously called strike three, ending the inning.

Yankees skipper Aaron Boone had the lefty Happ start the bottom of the 11th, which backfired immediately. Happ’s first pitch to Carlos Correa was a high 94 MPH fastball, which Correa promptly swatted to the opposite field for a walk-off solo home run, ending a thrilling game. Astros win 3-2, evening up the ALCS at one game apiece.

The two clubs will take Monday off to travel to the Bronx. Game 3 of the ALCS will take place on Tuesday afternoon with a 4:08 PM ET first pitch. Gerrit Cole will face Luis Severino in what a must-watch match-up.

Nationals virtually unveil 2019 World Series rings

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On Sunday evening, the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals unveiled their championship rings online. The Nats took down the Astros in seven hard-fought games last October to win their first Fall Classic in franchise history, with starter Stephen Strasburg winning MVP honors.

As the video highlights about the ring, the Nationals honored “Baby Shark,” a children’s song that became part of the team’s identity last year thanks to reserve outfielder Gerardo Parra. The ring also has all kinds of mementos referencing the Nationals’ triumphs throughout the years, including a reference to 2006, when the Lerner family bought the franchise.

It is a shame that, due to the global pandemic, the Nationals haven’t been able to properly get their rings like past championship winners. But they will, in due time. For now, the players can look forward to receiving their rings in the mail.