Tampa Bay Rays had a scene on Thursday at San Diego’s Petco Park to advance to the World Series and send the Houston Astros packing a second straight. Straight the second night, they didn’t do it. In the ninth inning, Carlos Correa struck out an outfield homer, dramatically winning the game 4-3.
Let’s learn the main storylines and things to know from Game 5.
Korea comes through the clutch
The winner of the game came out of the ninth versus Nick Anderson at the bottom of the Astros shortcut.
Korea may be the most vocal Astros player this post-season when it comes to silencing team critics. After a sluggish attack regular season (with 92 OPS + and five homers.264 average), Korea now has a hit of 362 / .457 / .816 with six homers in the playoffs. Yes, there is more house running in the postseason than in the regular season. He is now two homers away from combining the record for most Homers in a single postseason (see note in the Arosarena section below to learn more about this).
Also, Korea’s clutch exploits in the playoffs are significant. His three professional walk-off wins put David Ortiz closer together last season (Via ESPN statistics and information). Korea beat ALCS last year in a walk-off home game against Yankees in Game 2.
Astro’s bullpen game vs. Race starter
What is the difference? Glad you heard!
The Astros went with a bullshit game, a game full of reliefs. Louis Garcia started the game with two innings to go, followed by Blake Taylor, Anoli Parades, Andre Scrub, Brooks Raleigh (which was above all this point), Josh James and Ryan Presley. They allowed only three runs in seven innings of nine wins. All this on their backs against the wall.
Race used John Curtis as a starter. That is, a pitcher that throws a pitcher around an innings – usually the opposite hand – is designed to pick more innings in the game. This is Josh Fleming, who was a regular starter in 2020. Curtis went 1 1/3 innings before Fleming went three.
Overall, this is a commendable effort from both field staff. There aren’t a lot of big names available to carry the big post-season workload.
Choi came to the race
The Astros took a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning, but then G-Man Choi came home to build things up.
A world series tour, and on the other hand elimination, the theatrical level was already high, but Choi Eighth Things Building Things sent through the roof, set the table for Korea’s big moment.
Astros offense top, bottom line
George Springer, Houston’s lead hitter, completely destroyed the first pitch he saw and quickly gave the Astros a 1-0 lead.
At the bottom of the third inning, after tying things up a Brandon Lowe home run, Michael Brandley came up with a two-RBI single. Three Reserve Banks from 1-2 hitters in the Astros line.
In a fun twist, the 8-9 hitters actually served as table organizers above that third inning. Josh Reddick singles and Martin Maldonado doubled before making the Brandley difference.
Before Korea were shot in ninth place, the Astros had five wins in the game. Their 1-2 and 8-9 hitters combined for four out of five. Those four rows were responsible for three runs, three for the Reserve Bank and two for extra ground.
Korea saved things for the Astros, but they were not in a position to win without the top and bottom of the line.
Arosarena goes deep
Radius rookie sensation Randy Arosarena homarted for the sixth time this post season, teaming up with Ivan Longoria (2008 Radius) for a more rookie-run high house in a post-season. He is two away from the single post-season record held by Barry Ponds (2002 Giants), Carlos Feltron (2004 Astros) and Nelson Cruise (2011 Rangers). The full story is here.
Let’s do it again tomorrow with Game 6. The Astros are trying to trail the matter 0-3, while the Rays are trying to avoid facing a chance to join the Yankees in 2004, creating a dubious history and losing four straight games after a 3-0 lead. The pitch fit is similar to Game 1, where Blake goes to the Snell race and gets the ball for the framber Valdes Astros.
Of the 39 teams in the MLP playoffs facing a 3-0 deficit in the top seven series, the Astros now join as the only team to force a game in the 1998 Braves, 1999 Mets and 2004 Red Sox. Both Braves and Mets lost the game 6. The Red Sox won history. The Astros are the second team to do that, but they need to get Game 6 first.
CBS Sports provided live updates and analytics throughout Game 5. You can read it again below.