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Astros 5, Athletics 4: Carlos Correa Is Not Human, Rekindles "Clutch City"

Astros scatter nine hits and strand twelve runners on base but still ride the superhuman bat of rookie sensation Carlos Correa to victory

Carlos Correa went 2-4 with a go ahead two run homerun, a walk, and also singled to move the Astros first run into scoring position before a sacrific fly from Jed Lowrie
Carlos Correa went 2-4 with a go ahead two run homerun, a walk, and also singled to move the Astros first run into scoring position before a sacrific fly from Jed Lowrie
Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

What Happened

Carlos Correa was born, and handed a bat instead of a bottle.

The end.  That's what happened.

On a night where it might be easy to neglect the solid outing from Scott Feldman (6 IP, five hits, two runs on two solo home runs, two walks and three strikeouts) and focus instead on what - for most of the night - was an Astros offense which was again largely anemic in a road game, Carlos Correa put the team, the coaches, and the Astros Fan Legion on his broad shoulders and carried the night.

In the first inning, Carlos Gomez bunted for a single before Carlos Correa followed with a single to left field and moved Gomez to third base.  Jed Lowrie then struck a sacrifice fly to Josh Reddick in right field and, just like that, the Astros were on the board.

The lead wouldn't last long, however, as Stephen Vogt would hit his fifteenth homerun of the season in the bottom of the second to tie the game.

As the game progressed, the timeless baseball question once again made its appearance for Astros fans:

"Is this pitcher this good, or is our lineup just struggling this badly?"

Aaron Brooks was excellent for the Athletics, dealing for seven solid innings and allowing just the one run on four hits and one walk with seven strikeouts.  Brett Lawrie added a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning off Feldman, and that was where the score stood all the way until the top of the eighth inning, when Jose Altuve laced a solid single to center field off of former Astro Fernando Rodriguez.  Coming into this appearance, Rodriguez had allowed just a .189 batting average against and hadn't allowed a home run all season.

Carlos Correa then strode to the plate with Altuve on base and ruined Rodriguez's whole night.

Video courtesy of the video archive

Geoff Blum must, of course, get due credit for his on-air prediction of that home run, as you can clearly hear in the video.  The best feeling for Astros fans might have been watching the Astros dugout erupt after having very little to be excited about after three rough games in Arlington.

Jed Lowrie then immediately drew a walk and scored on a Colby Rasmus base hit and ensuing error by the Athletics center fielder, Billy Burns, to run the score to 4-2 in favor of the Astros.

Then came the ninth inning.

Luke Gregerson, after having not pitched in the series in Arlington, entered the game in the ninth inning and looked very rusty, struggling mightily with his control.  An costly throwing error from Jed Lowrie resulted in the Athletics having runners on the corners and no outs before Ike Davis singled home the A's third run.  Marcus Semien struck out for the first out of the bottom of the ninth before Eric Sogard walked to load the bases and Billy Burns hit a chopper up the middle and narrowly avoided a game-ending double play by virtue of being one of the fastest human beings in the Major Leagues.  And just like that, Luke Gregerson blew his third save of the season and the Astros and A's headed for bonus baseball.

In the tenth inning, the Astros once again brushed off their "Clutch City".  Jose Altuve led off with his third single of the night and recorded his second stolen base of the game - thirtieth of the season - before Carlos Gomez sacrifice bunted him to third base.  After Carlos Correa was inexplicably pitched to and JUST missed barreling up a fastball from Edward Mujica and instead popped out on the infield for the second out, Jed Lowrie achieved maximum redemption for his error in the ninth inning by lacing an RBI double down the left field line.

Will Harris entered for the bottom of the tenth inning and, after a leadoff single from Josh Reddick, induced a double play from Billy Butler and a sharp groundout from Stephen Vogt to end the game.

Other Notes From The Game

Preston Tucker, who had been noticeably absent from the lineup since Tuesday while nursing a nagging injury, entered the game as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the 8th inning and stayed in to hit in the top of the ninth, when he flew out to Billy Burns in center field deep on the warning track - a good sign.

Also, after so much incredible defensive wizardry recently from Carlos Correa, it's almost a surprise when another elite defender on the team gets the "defensive play of the game" nod, but Carlos Gomez deserves recognition for this ridiculous Willie Mays-esque catch in centerfield:

Video courtesy of the video archive

The Astros and A's will play the second game of the series tomorrow in Oakland, as each team throws their respective aces on the mound - Dallas Keuchel for Houston and Sonny Gray for Oakland - in what is shaping up to be one of the premium pitching matches in all of baseball this year.  Don't miss that one, folks.