All the small things: Fundamentals key to win

Correa, Rasmus execute essential plays in late innings in finale vs. Angels

All the small things: Fundamentals key to win

HOUSTON -- Carlos Correa didn't have time for pain. Two innings after crumpling to the ground when he fouled a ball off his left foot, the Astros shortstop hustled down the line in the eighth to beat out what would have been an inning-ending double play, allowing Marwin Gonzalez to score with the game-winning run.

Then it was left fielder Colby Rasmus coming up with a heady play in the ninth inning, throwing out the Angels' Yunel Escobar -- the potential tying run -- at second base after he had strayed too far from the bag following a Kole Calhoun RBI single. For a team living on the edge and without margin for error, every play has mattered to the Astros.

After losing five of seven one-run games in mid-May, the Astros have gone 8-2 in their last 10 one-run games, including Wednesday's 3-2 win over the Angels, which capped a 5-1 homestand at Minute Maid Park. They're 13-13 in one-run games this year.

"Every 90 feet matters, every small mistake matters, taking advantage of their mistakes matter," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "If we had closed it up, three up, three down [in the ninth], nobody would have talked about Carlos Correa running the ball out, and instead it becomes a pivotal play based on how we tacked on a run and they couldn't catch us."

Gonzalez scores on grounder

Correa is still sore from the sprained ankle he suffered June 9 in Texas, so when he fouled a ball off the top of his foot in the sixth inning, it was cause for concern. Correa wound up hobbling to second with a double on the next pitch, and then had to leg out the potential double-play ball in the eighth. He beat the relay at first, and Gonzalez scored from third to make it 3-1.

"That was great to be able to get that ground ball and beat it out and get the insurance run," Correa said. "When the adrenaline kicks in, you forget about everything, and I was able to beat the throw."

The Angels rallied against Will Harris in the ninth. With runners at first and second and one out, Calhoun singled to left field to score Shane Robinson and cut the lead to 3-2, but Ramsus threw behind Escobar rounding second, and Jose Altuve applied the tag for a huge out with Mike Trout coming to the plate. Trout lined out to left to end the game.

Rasmus gets Escobar at 2nd

"The key for the game was Colby Rasmus' play in the last inning," Altuve said. "That was a tremendous play. That's the reason why we won the game."

Rasmus said he thought Escobar might stray off the base.

"I really wanted to get to the ball quick because I know he likes to shake it up and do crazy things and possibly might take off running," he said. "I tried to get to it as quickly as I could, and when I come up, he got off a way so I just snap-fired it in there."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.