Game 2 of the ALCS made every pitch matter Sunday at Minute Maid Park in Houston, but perhaps no play swung the momentum more than what happened midway through the sixth inning.
With two on and two out as DJ LeMahieu led off second and Gleyber Torres from fits, Brett Gardner's sharp ground ball up the middle initially short hopped off Jose Altuve at second base and into the hole, but Carlos Correa came over from shortstop in time.
While Torres stayed put on second, LeMahieu wheeled around after getting waved by third-base coach Phil Nevin and booked for home plate.
However, Correa was one step ahead and fired the ball to Robinson Chirinos on a line, getting LeMahieu out by three steps and sending the Astros back into the first-base dugout with the home crowd fired up while the score remained tied.
The Yankees eventually fell 3-2 in extra innings, when Correa -- who else? -- came back up to start the bottom of the 11th and sent the first pitch he saw from J.A. Happ into the right-field seats for the walkoff solo shot and split the ALCS at 1-1 heading back to Yankee Stadium in New York, but his play in the field kickstarted the triumph.
"Obviously, it was a good opportunity tonight," LeMahieu said. "I think we battled extremely hard. It is disappointing to lose, though."
LeMahieu, who was a bright spot in a Yankees lineup that managed just six hits, went 1 for 4 with a sixth-inning single to leadoff the top frame, credited Correa on the heads-up grab and throw.
"I haven't even seen the replay or anything yet, but from what everyone's saying ... he just made a great play on it and it was probably the right call," LeMahieu said of Correa. "I didn't see it. I was running. My back was turned towards it and I kind of peaked to see where the ball was and Correa had it already, so like everyone's saying, I think that's the right call and made a heck of a play on it."
Nevin sent LeMahieu and the decision backfired, but Boone said after the game that the third-base coach got the call right in real time.
"I thought it skipped off further and I was an absolute send from where I was standing -- I'm kind of right behind third base there," Boone said. "Great heads-up play by Correa to be in that position, to catch it clean and then, obviously, with his arm, throw a strike home. So I had no issue with the play at all."