Astros outlast Yankees with Correa’s walk off homer

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Carlos Correa (pictured, AFP)

Carlos Correa blasted a walk off home run in the 11th inning on Sunday to lift the Houston Astros to a 3-2 marathon victory over the New York Yankees in game two of the ALCS.

The Astros shortstop hit a towering 394-foot opposite field homer off Yankees relief pitcher JA Happ to level the best-of-seven playoff series at one game each.

Correa capped the almost five-hour contest which saw Houston bounce back from a one-sided 7-0 loss in game one.

“It was a great game. Two of the best teams out there,” said Correa. “It’s all worth it for moments like this.”

Correa also hit an RBI double and made a clutch defensive play earlier in the game.

Game three is on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.

Correa watched the first pitch of the bottom of the 11th sail out of the ballpark then cupped his hand to his ear as the crowd of 43,300 at Minute Maid Park went into a frenzy.

Correa said he was happy he got the pitch he was looking for from Happ, who was New York’s ninth pitcher of the game.

“I played against him before and I have been successful going the other way,” he said. “I was looking for something down the middle that I could drive the other way and he threw the perfect pitch for me to do it.”

This is the second time in three years the two powerhouse franchises have grappled in the Major League Baseball postseason. In the 2017 ALCS, each team won all their home games with the Astros moving on the World Series where they claimed their first title.

Astros starter Justin Verlander once again stepped up against the Yankees. Verlander threw

6 2/3 solid innings, striking out seven and allowing five hits.

In seven career playoff starts against the Yankees, Verlander is 4-0. His first career playoff start came against New York in 2006 during his rookie season.

“I knew it was going to be a low scoring affair,” said Verlander, who was the MVP of the 2017 ALCS. “I was able to lock it down and make pitches when I had to. I was pleased to keep our boys in the ball game.”

Yankees left-hander James Paxton lasted just 2 1/3 innings surrendering four hits and one run and walking two.

Houston’s bats came alive in game two after going silent in the opener when the Yankees clubbed three home runs.

Correa started the scoring in game two, hitting a double to left field in the second which plated Alex Bregman.

The Yankees scored two runs in the top of the fourth before George Springer hit a solo homer in the fifth inning off Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino to tie it 2-2.

Gerrit Cole will start for the Astros on Tuesday against Luis Severino. Cole led the league in strikeouts this season and has 18 wins in no losses in 24 starts.