Correa’s 11th inning HR beats Yankees in Game 2 thriller

HOUSTON — Carlos Correa hit a leadoff home run in the 11th inning and the Houston Astros won a battle of the bullpens, beating the New York Yankees 3-2 Sunday night to tie the AL Championship Series at one game apiece.

The slumping Correa, who earlier hit an RBI double and made a sensational play at shortstop, connected for an opposite-field shot to right off J.A. Happ.

Correa watched the ball sail, then held up one finger as he rounded the bases. As he approached home plate, he tossed his helmet as if shooting a basketball at the crowd of teammates waiting for him.

Game 3 is Tuesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. Gerrit Cole, who is 18-0 in his last 24 starts and led the majors in strikeouts, starts for the Astros against Luis Severino.

“The game of baseball, it’s a beautiful game,” Correa said.

Correa was sidelined for a while late this year because of back trouble. The All-Star began the day in a 3-for-22 skid this postseason.

The Yankees tied a League Championship Series record by using nine pitchers. The eight relievers had permitted only one run and two hits with 11 strikeouts before Correa homered, ending a game that took four hours, 49 minutes and ended right around midnight.

Houston’s five relievers combined for 4 1/3 innings of one-hit shutout ball after taking over for Justin Verlander. Going into this best-of-seven series, the Yankees were considered the better team in the bullpen — the Astros amply held their own in this one.

Gary Sánchez struck out looking to end the Yankees 11th with runners on first and second. The pitch appeared outside — it came right after he swung and missed with two strikes, but was ruled a foul ball.

Aaron Judge hit a two-run homer off Verlander that put the Yankees ahead 2-1 in the fourth. George Springer tied it in the fifth with a home run off reliever Adam Ottavino.

Correa kept it tied at 2 in the sixth. With runners at first and second, and on the move on a full-count pitch with two outs, Brett Gardner hit a hard grounder that bounced off second baseman José Altuve for a single.

The ball bounded away and Correa quickly retrieved it and threw a strike to catcher Robinson Chirinos, who tagged out the sliding DJ LeMahieu.

Correa hit an early RBI double off James Paxton.

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