Astros apply pressure late, but can't cash in
Correa's two-out double in the ninth travels 433 feet according to Statcast
HOUSTON -- Even after leaving a pair of runners on base in the eighth inning, the Astros liked their chances in the ninth with Jose Altuve, George Springer and Carlos Correa due up against Angels closer Huston Street.
Street, who blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning on Sept. 13 against the Astros in Anaheim, was able to shut the door on the Astros' 4-3 loss Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park, but it certainly was anything but a routine save because the Astros stranded a pair.
"I've got no complaints about our team," manager A.J. Hinch said. "We put pressure on them from the fifth inning on. We left a lot of guys on base, but we fought our tails off to be in a position to get a big hit and [have] someone go home a hero."
Street induced a chopper back to the mound off the bat of Altuve to start the ninth before Springer bounced out to Street as well. Correa, playing on his 21st birthday, hit a rocket over the head of Mike Trout in center field and off the wall for a double. The Angels intentionally walked Jed Lowrie, who ended the Sept. 13 rally with a three-run homer, to face Evan Gattis, who struck out one pitch after hitting a laser foul down the left-field line.
The Astros went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 runners on base.
"We had our guys in position," Hinch said. "I was happy with how we matched up really all throughout the night. September baseball can get a little bit wacky with six, seven players coming off the bench on each side, but that's the rules we play under."
Correa's double was 111 mph off the bat, according to Statcast™, and traveled 433 feet. The cruelest part is it likely would have been a homer next year when Tal's Hill is removed and the fences in center are brought in to 409 feet from 436 feet.
"I haven't been here that long, but I've never seen a ball go out to dead, dead center," Hinch said. "The trajectory of it, to be honest with you, I just wanted to get it over Trout's head and it continued to carry. As it gets up against that fence, my first thought was, 'It's a home run next year.' It's not quite soon enough. A well-struck ball. Was there any doubt he was going to put the ball in play pretty hard?"
Correa said it was one of the hardest balls he's hit this year.
"I knew there was no chance [for a homer], especially because our ballpark is so deep to center field," he said. "When it hit the wall, I was like, 'Wow. It went further than I expected.'"
Hinch and Angels manager Mike Scioscia played chess in the eighth by mixing and matching relievers and pinch-hitters. The Astros scored a run on a wild pitch to cut the lead to 4-3, but Street got Jake Marisnick to strike out swinging and strand runners at first and second.
"You look around this locker room and I don't think you'll see too many guys hanging their head," Marisnick said. "We competed and ended up on the wrong side of it."