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.
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.