HOUSTON -- The Astros preach aggressiveness on the basepaths, so it stands to reason third-base coach Gary Pettis is going to be aggressive, too.Pettis' ambitious send of Jose Altuve around third base on a ball hit into the right-center-field gap by Carlos Correa in the ninth inning allowed the winning
HOUSTON -- The Astros preach aggressiveness on the basepaths, so it stands to reason third-base coach Gary Pettis is going to be aggressive, too.
Pettis' ambitious send of Jose Altuve around third base on a ball hit into the right-center-field gap by Carlos Correa in the ninth inning allowed the winning run to score in the Astros' 2-1 walk-off win on Saturday over the Yankees in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World. Houston heads to New York with a 2-0 series lead.
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Altuve was on first base when Correa laced a pitch into the gap. Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge cut it off in right-center field before the ball got the wall, and Pettis didn't hesitate to send Altuve. He said he had made up his mind as soon as the ball was hit.
The relay from Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius beat Altuve to the plate, but catcher Gary Sanchez couldn't handle the short-hop throw, which bounced off his glove and in front of the plate. Altuve slid, slapped the plate and pandemonium broke out at Minute Maid Park.
"I was just happy we won the ballgame," Pettis said. "At that point, everybody is celebrating. You don't remember anything but the fact you won, and that's good enough."
Altuve's Sprint Speed on the play was 29.5 feet per second, well ahead of his 2017 "max effort" average of 28.0 feet per second and the MLB average of 27 feet per second.
"We have one of the fastest guys in the league at first base," Pettis said. "When we have balls hit towards the gap like that -- not just with Altuve, but we have [George] Springer, Correa, [Alex] Bregman and [Josh] Reddick -- we have a lot of guys that can cover some ground out there, so it gives us an opportunity to score a run."
Astros manager A.J. Hinch said having the most aggressive third-base coach in the league puts pressure on the opposition.
"As the ball got toward second base, there was a play at second base, you look up, Altuve is halfway there," Hinch said. "They have got to execute two really tough throws. Obviously the short hop helped us at the end and Altuve's safe. So we like to put pressure on teams. Obviously we run the bases that way. We sometimes can be a little too aggressive. But, man, when it works out, that feeling that we applied enough pressure to make a difference is key for us."
Pettis teaches Houston's baserunners to run until they're stopped.
"Gary's out of his mind," Springer joked. "It worked. I love it. That was crazy."
Crazy? Pettis laughed, saying he's heard it all before.
"But the good part about it is they expect me to send them, so it makes my job easier," he said.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.