ATLANTA - Just in time, and the Houston Astros broke out the bats. Because if they had waited any longer, this World Series would've been over.
After a less than stellar performance the last couple of games, the Astros managed to turn things around in an electrifying way Sunday night at Truist Park in Atlanta. And even though things seemed tough, especially with the Braves making a grand slam early on in Game 5, the Astros proved to fans they would not go down easily.
Staggered by Adam Duvall's grand slam in the first inning, Correa and Alex Bregman ended their slumps in a hurry. They kept swinging, refusing to let their season slip away and rallying past the Atlanta Braves 9-5 early Monday to cut their Series deficit to 3-2.
The Braves might not admit it was a deflating defeat, their 66-year-old manager Brian Snitker is too steady and savvy for that. But by any measure in the Analytics Age, this had to sting.
Correa, moved up to third in the lineup for Game 5 while Bregman was dropped to seventh, delivered three hits. Martin Maldonado found three different ways to drive in runs and pinch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez blooped a two-out, two-run single in the fifth inning for a 7-5 lead.
A matchup of bullpens turned into the first high-scoring game of this Fall Classic, and the highest-scoring team in the majors this year won it.
Couldn't hold down the Astros forever, a parade of Braves pitchers found out as the clock passed midnight and the calendar flipped to November.
Correa gained attention earlier this postseason for marking big hits by pointing at his wrist, where a watch might be. His time, he said.
The star shortstop doubled and singled twice, driving in two runs. His single in the eighth inning padded the lead and as Altuve got congrats in the dugout after scoring, the Fox TV mics picked up someone on the bench yelling "It's time!"
A night earlier, the Astros went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position in a 3-2 loss. That left Correa at 2 for 14 overall in the series and Bregman worse at 1 for 14.
Atlanta had been 7-0 at home in the postseason, and a boisterous crowd inside Truist Park and packed plaza outside came early hoping to celebrate a long-awaited championship.
Duvall's slam sent a dozen Braves careening from the dugout, a full-out frenzy of hollering, twirling and dancing.
But any victory party was premature, even after Freddie Freeman's long homer put Atlanta ahead 5-4.
Instead, manager Dusty Baker's club hushed the fans and the Braves, pulling off a big comeback to stay afloat.
Now, the Astros need an even bigger one to win it all.
Game 6 is Tuesday night in Houston.
No team has clinched a World Series at home since the 2013 Red Sox. For Jose Altuve and the Astros to do it, they must win twice at Minute Maid Park — the last club to overcome a 3-1 Series deficit was the Cubs against Cleveland in 2016.
Davidson wasn't even on the postseason roster a week ago. Relaxing at a hotel in the Atlanta suburbs, chowing down a takeout salad from The Cheesecake Factory, the rookie saw Game 1 starter Charlie Morton get hurt and joined the Braves the next day in Houston.
It made for a cute story, but Houston was buying.
Bregman hit an RBI double that ended the Astros' rut with runners in scoring position and Maldonado — 4 for 41 in the postseason at that point — followed with a sacrifice fly that pulled them to 4-2.
An error by shortstop Dansby Swanson helped Houston tie it in the third. Altuve reached on the misplay and Michael Brantley walked, ending Davidson's day. Correa greeted reliever Jesse Chavez with an RBI double and a run-scoring grounder by Yuli Gurriel made it 4-all.
Freeman untied it moments later, connecting for a 460-foot home run that matched the longest of his career.
But having finally gotten loose at the plate, the Astros weren't going quietly on this night.
Singles by Correa and Gurriel and a two-out intentional walk to Bregman loaded the bases in the fifth. Lefty reliever A.J. Minter lost Maldonado for a walk that tied it, and Gonzalez singled for the lead.
Maldonado added an RBI single in the seventh and Correa extended the lead the next inning.
José Urquidy pitched an inning for his second win of the season. Minter took the loss.
Altuve kicks off the first inning against Braves pitcher Tucker Davidson. His first move is to take a strike but after a 2-2 pitch, makes a little pop-up to shortstop. Brantley is up next and walks after a 3-2 pitch. Correa steps up to the plate in lieu of Bregman's normal slot. He grounds into a double play, second to first but Brantley is out at second by Swanson. No score at the top of the first. Soler bats first for the Braves with Valdez on the pitcher's mound. He grounds to third, and Bregman can't come up with it. Freeman up next hits one in the air, flies out to center but Tucker is right behind it. Albies follows up and it hits the left side and is grounded into the fielder's choice to shortstop, but it's no chance with Correa outing him at second base. Riley up next, singles to shallow left, moving him to second, and Albies to third. Rosario up next and takes a walk. Duvall comes up next at-bat with bases loaded and hits a grand slam. Braves take the early lead, 0-4. The inning ends though with d'Arnaud grounded out to shortstop.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 31: Framber Valdez #59 of the Houston Astros delivers the pitch against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning in Game Five of the World Series at Truist Park on October 31, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C.
It's Yordan Alvarez at-bat against Davidson and swings it out to left but the ball is caught by Rosario. Up next is Yuli Gurrieland lines the ball out to center with one out. Tucker follows up and walks after a 3-2 pitch, moving Gurriel to second. Bregman's turn at the plate, in his first time batting 7th or lower since 2017. After a 2-2 pitch, he doubles to deep right-center, allowing Gurriel to score, moving Tucker to third. The score is now 1-4, Braves with Maldonado up next and hits a sac fly to center, allowing Tucker to score and moving Bregman to third. Maldonado strikes out looking, but it's clear the Astros are not going down without a fight.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 30: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros is congratulated by Alex Bregman #2 after hitting a solo home run against the Atlanta Braves during the fourth inning in Game Four of the World Series at Truist Park on October 30,
The score is now, 2-4 as we go into the bottom of the second with Valdez pitching to Swanson.He hits it to short but Correa spins just in time. It's Davidson next but is struck out swinging. Soler, who flipped the game on its head, is grounded out to shortstop. Score remains, 2-4, as the inning comes to a close and Houston, looks to Altuve to keep the series alive.
Altuve is called safe at first base after a fielding error by Swanson. Brantley comes up next and walks, moving Altuve to second. Correa follows up after the Braves make a pitching change, bringing in Jesse Chavez. He hits it into left circle, doubling to center allowing Altuve to score, and moving Brantley to third. The score is now, 3-4 with the Astros coming to play. Alvarez makes one out to left but the ball is caught by Rosario. Gurriel up next, moves one out to center, Brantley scored, tying up the game, 4-4, and Correa is at third. Tucker walks and it's up to Bregman next. He flies out to left but Rosario catches it. The Astros even the series as we go into the third inning stretch.
Valdez brings it back against Freeman, but he homers out to right-center. The score is now 4-5, with the Braves up. Albies hits and grounds out to third, stopped by Bregman. Riley grounds out to shortstop and it's caught by Correa. Rosario is up next and after a 3-2 pitch, takes a walk. Garcia swaps in to pitch for Valdez against Duvall. After 11 pitches, he hits a fly ball out in the infield to shortstop but it's grabbed by Correa. Braves are on top, 4-5, but with the Astros up next, things could change.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 31: Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros celebrates after hitting an RBI double against the Atlanta Braves during the third inning in Game Five of the World Series at Truist Park on October 31, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (
Maldonado takes a strike initially but then grounds out second. As Zack Greinke comes up to pinch-hit for Garcia, he lines up to right, and next up it's Altuve. He pops up into right but Soler catches it. A.J. Minter is swapped in for Chavez as Brantley steps up to bat. And he's struck out after a 0-3 pitch.
Jose Urquidy looks to keep the game at 4-5 as he goes against Travis d'Arnaud. He makes a base hit and singles out to center. Swanson hits it in the air to center, Tucker back a few, catches it with one out currently. Minter up next, bunts and pops it out in an easy second out, but fouls out to catcher. Soler comes up to the plate next and he grounds into fielder's choice to second, moving d'Arnaud out at second by Altuve. The fourth inning concludes with the score remaining 4-5, hoping that Correa can turn things around in the next inning.
Correa goes up against Minter at the top of the fifth. After an 0-2 pitch, he singles out to center and is on base for the second time. Alvarez strikes out and it's up to Gurriel next. He hits it into the center, with Correa moving to second. Tucker walks up to plate and is grounded out to first, Gurriel to second, and Correa to third. Maldonado up next and he walks, Correa scored, Bregman moves to second and Gurriel to third. The game is now tied, 5-5 and Marwin Gonzalez goes up while bases are loaded. He singles one out to left-center and it's a double score for Bregman and Gurriel, moving Maldonado to second. Score is now 7-5 as the Astros continue to strike back. Chris Martin now replacing Minter as Altuve steps up to the plate. After a 3-2 pitch, he strikes out but the Astros are on top for the first time of the night, 7-5.
Phil Maton pitches to Freeman as the Astros look to keep their lead at the bottom of the fifth. Freeman lines out to the right and strikes out Albies next. It's the second strikeout for the Braves of the night Riley comes up to the plate. He doubles it out to center, which is big as Rosario comes up next. He grounds out to pitcher, thereby ending the fifth inning with the Astros still on top.
Chris Martin pitches to Brantley as the Astros look to expand, if not keep, their lead against the Braves. He grounds out to first. And Correa follows up, grounding to shortstop. Next it's Alvarez, who pops it up into left, Rosario catches it with a long-run and slides. Astros keep their lead as they go into the bottom of the sixth with Duvall at-bat. Maton throws the pitch and strikes out Duvall. d'Arnaud up next. He hits it into left field but Alvarez stops it and holds d'Arnaud to a one-out single. Next is Swanson, and he's struck out by Maton. Pederson comes in, with a pop-up in left field but Bregman grabs the ball, just in time. The Astros are up next, where they can either expand or maintain their 7-5 lead.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 31: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros catches a foul fly ball hit by Joc Pederson (not pictured) of the Atlanta Braves during the sixth inning in Game Five of the World Series at Truist Park on October 31, 2021 in Atlan
Gurriel is first at-bat against Drew Smyly at the top of the seventh. He is struck out swinging. Tucker up next, doubles deep to the right. Bregman then pops it up in the infield but Riley catches it. Maldonado follows afterward and takes a base hit to the left, with another RBI. Tucker scores, moving Maldonado to second. Astros expand their lead, 8-5. Chas McCormick steps up to the plate as the crowd begins to shout boo's and he's struck out. The astros still enjoying a bigger lead, thanks to Maldonado.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 31: Kyle Tucker #30 of the Houston Astros reacts after scoring a run against the Atlanta Braves during the seventh inning in Game Five of the World Series at Truist Park on October 31, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Ke
Ryne Stanek pitches to Soler as the Astros looks to hang on even more so to their lead. After a 2-2 pitch, he pops one out into left field but Alvarez catches it. Next is Freeman, who grounds out to first. Albies follows up and is struck out swinging after some impressive throws by Stanek. The inning concludes with the Astros holding on to their strong lead, 8-5, after an explosive comeback.
Altuve up first against Smyly and gets a base hit, reaching into center before stealing second. There's a brief dispute on whether he was out but the safe ruling is accepted as Brantley waits for the 0-1. Altuve moves to third after a hard hit by Brantley, who is grounded out to second. Correa up next, who hits an RBI, allowing Altuve to score, putting the Astros at 9-5 against the Braves. The boo's get louder as Smyly deals with Alvarez and is struck out. Gurriel takes his third hit of the night after singling out to center, moving Correa to second. Tucker concludes the first half of the eighth by flying one out to left.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 31: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros slides into second base safely against Dansby Swanson #7 of the Atlanta Braves with a stolen base during the eighth inning in Game Five of the World Series at Truist Park on October
Kendall Graveman pitches to Riley, who gets a baseline hit in the center. Next up it's Rosario, who flies it out to center but it's caught. Duvall follows afterward, who grounds out to third, moving Riley to second. Now Graveman just needs to handle d'Arnaud, and he's struck out swinging. One more inning left as the Astros hope to keep their lead.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 31: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros reacts after scoring a run against the Atlanta Braves during the eighth inning in Game Five of the World Series at Truist Park on October 31, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kev
It's been an exciting game for the Astros, coming back from a disappointing outcome the last couple of games. It all comes down to this, with Bregman kicking off the ninth and grounds out to third. Maldonado and Graveman are both struck out. The Braves will take this final opportunity to turn things around, and it's up to the Astros to ensure that doesn't happen. Swanson kicks off the bottom of the ninth with Graveman back on the pitcher's mound. He flies it out to right but it's caught. Ehire Adrianza up next, who is swapped in for Smyly. He lines out to center but it's caught. The Braves are now on two outs as Soler steps up to the plate. He is struck out and it's all over. Astros win, 9-5.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.