Correa bear-hugs Altuve after game-winner

Astros' star 2B praises teammate's tackle after celebration

Correa bear-hugs Altuve after game-winner

HOUSTON -- After his single landed safely behind a hustling Anthony Gose and sealed a 6-5 walk-off win over Detroit on Sunday, Jose Altuve raced to center field to avoid the mob of taller, thicker players chasing after their diminutive 5-foot-6 hero.

They caught up. Carlos Correa brought Altuve to the ground with a form tackle, eventually joined by teammates.

Altuve's single, his third career walk-off hit and second of the season, prevented the Astros from losing a home series for the first time since dropping two of three to the White Sox on May 29-31.

He took Tigers reliever Alex Wilson's first pitch, a hanging cutter, and drove it to the left-center-field gap to score Jake Marisnick, who had laced a full-count, two-out triple off Tom Gorzelanny to prompt the pitching change.

"In those situations, everything looks strike, looks in the middle," Altuve said. "I'm a free swinger and everybody knows that, so I just swing the bat."

Marisnick's 9th-inning triple

After a game where Houston allowed three unearned runs and coughed up a late lead, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said the hectic ending is just where Altuve thrives and it was gratifying to see such success after some self-inflicted mishaps.

"As good a Sunday as you can have," Hinch said. "[Altuve] loves the moment. This guy loves to be up to bat at the right time. There was no doubt in my mind that he was going to put the ball in play hard."

Now with a hit in 40 of his last 47 games, Altuve preached after the win how each of the Astros' victories is becoming more important with the American League West race tightening and September only a few weeks away.

"From this moment to all those games that we have left, every game is going to be very important," Altuve said. "Today is a big win, tomorrow we've got to win, and if we want to chase the playoffs we have to win."

Correa, who was in the hole, said he put his bat back on the rack and set his glove to the side before Altuve even stepped into the box, confident his locker mate and team mentor would win the game and his services wouldn't be required.

He was needed, though, to tackle the hero.

"I think if the Texans see that, [they're] going to put him out there," Altuve said.

Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.