Astros vs. Rays score: Carlos Correa’s walk-off homer keeps Houston’s season alive in ALCS Game 5

The Tampa Bay Rays had a shot to advance to the World Series while sending the Houston Astros packing for the second straight night at San Diego’s Petco Park on Thursday. And for the second straight night, they did not get it done. The Astros have prevailed with a Game 5 victory in dramatic fashion, 4-3, as Carlos Correa hit a walk-off homer in the ninth inning.

Let’s dive in on the key storylines and things to know from Game 5. 

Correa comes through in the clutch

The game-winner was a walk-off from the Astros shortstop in the bottom of the ninth vs. Nick Anderson.

Astros’ bullpen game vs. Rays’ opener

What’s the difference? I’m glad you asked! 

The Astros went with a bullpen game, which is just a game full of relievers. Luis Garcia started the game and worked two innings, he was followed by Blake Taylor, Enoli Paredes, Andre Scrubb, Brooks Raley (it was all rookies through this point, by the way), Josh James and Ryan Pressly. They got through the nine innings allowing just three runs on seven hits. All this with their backs against the wall. 

The Rays used John Curtiss as an opener. That is, a pitcher who throws around one inning before giving way to the pitcher — usually of the opposite hand — who is designed to pitch the most innings in the game. That was Josh Fleming, who was usually a starter in 2020. Curtiss went 1 1/3 innings before Fleming went three. 

Overall, it was a commendable effort from both pitching staffs. Lots of the big names were either unavailable of carrying in big postseason workloads. 

Choi came through for Rays

The Astros took a 3-2 lead to the eighth inning, but then Ji-Man Choi homered to tie things up. 


With a World Series trip on the line for one side and elimination on the other, the drama level was already high, but Choi tying things up in the eighth sent things through the roof, setting the table for Correa’s big moment. 

Astros offense fueled by top, bottom

George Springer, Houston’s leadoff hitter, absolutely destroyed the first pitch he saw, giving the Astros a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.

In the bottom of the third inning, after a Brandon Lowe home run tied things up, Michael Brantley came through with a two-RBI single. That’s all three RBI from the 1-2 hitters in the Astros’ lineup. 

In a funny twist, the 8-9 hitters actually served as the table-setters for the top in that third inning. Josh Reddick singled and Martin Maldonado doubled before the Brantley difference-maker. 

Before Correa’s shot in the ninth, the Astros had five hits in the game. Their 1-2 and 8-9 hitters combined for four of the five. Those four lineup spots accounted for all three runs, all three RBI and both extra-base hits. 

Correa salvaged things for the Astros, but they weren’t in position to win without the top and bottom of the order. 

Arozarena keeps going deep

Rays rookie sensation Randy Arozarena homered for the sixth time this postseason, tying him with Evan Longoria (2008 Rays) for the most home runs by a rookie in a single postseason. He’s only two away from the single postseason record, held by Barry Bonds (2002 Giants), Carlos Beltran (2004 Astros) and Nelson Cruz (2011 Rangers). Full story here.

Next up

We’ll do it again tomorrow with Game 6. The Astros are trying to run this thing to the distance after trailing 0-3 while the Rays are looking to avoid facing the possibility of joining the 2004 Yankees in making dubious history and losing four straight after a 3-0 lead. The pitching matchup is the same as Game 1 with Blake Snell going for the Rays and Framber Valdez getting the ball for the Astros. 

CBS Sports provided live updates and analysis throughout Game 5. You can read it back below.

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