LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Carlos Correa clubbed a walk-off home run Thursday in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Houston Astros to a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays and forcing a Game 6 in baseball’s American League Championship Series.
For the second straight night the Astros fended off elimination in the best-of-seven series, closing to within 3-2 in search of a World Series berth.
“I don’t want to go home yet,” Correa said.
“We were down 0-3, we had a players’ meeting in the clubhouse and we said we don’t want to go home yet, so we better do something about it.
“We’re down 2-3 and still have a lot of work to do, but it’s a good start.”
Rays first baseman Choi Ji-man had tied a tight game at 3-3 with a solo homer in the eighth.
But Tampa Bay couldn’t build on that in the top of the ninth and Correa delivered the knockout blow in the bottom of the final frame.
Correa belted a 1-1 fastball from Rays relief pitcher Nick Anderson into the centerfield seats to deliver a victory that keeps the Astros in the hunt to complete a rare comeback.
“As soon as I hit it, I knew it was gone,” Correa said.
In 38 prior attempts, only one Major League Baseball team — the Boston Red Sox against the New York Yankees in the 2004 ALCS — has recovered from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven playoff series.
“Tough loss, great ball game,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “We have to get the bats going.”
The Astros were on top from the start thanks to a leadoff homer from George Springer.
Tampa pulled even on Brandon Lowe’s solo shot to deep right field in the third.