Houston Astros slugger Carlos Correa came to the rescue in heroic fashion when he hit a walk-off home run against the New York Yankees in Game 2 of the ALCS on Sunday.
After knocking the ball out of the Minute Made Park in the 11th inning and sealing the game for the ‘Stros, the first thing to cross Correa’s mind was a 16-year-old cancer patient named Jalen Garcia, his fiancée Daniella Rodriguez told KTRK.
“I looked up at him, and I was like, the first person I thought about was Jalen,” Rodriguez recalled to the news station, “and [Correa] goes, ‘You know what, so did I!’ “
Just two days before helping the Astros tie up the series, Correa visited MD Anderson Cancer Hospital in Houston and met Garcia, who is battling bone cancer. The meeting inspired Correa — who helped Houston win their first World Series in 2017 against the Los Angeles Dodgers — and he told Garcia that the next home run he hit was going to be dedicated to him.
None of them could have predicted that the next home run Correa would hit would come at such a pivotal point in the game.
“He just whispered to him, ‘The next home run that I hit is going to be for you. When you see me pointing up, I want you to know that I’m pointing at you,’ ” Rodriguez recalled to KTRK.
On Friday, Rodriguez shared a picture with Correa and Garcia with her 190,000 followers on Instagram. In the caption, she called the teenager a “special guy.”
“Nothing else in this world is as rewarding as this. Carlos and I got to meet this special guy today. Jalen is a fellow Laredoian like myself AND attends my old high school,” she wrote. “As soon as I heard about Jalen being in Houston I made sure we did everything possible to meet him.”
“You are our hero Jalen! Keep fighting we’re right behind you cheering you on,” Rodriguez added. “Thank you @mdandersoncancercenter for letting us visit some of your patients. #LonghornPride”
Footage of Correa’s walk-off homer shows him pointing to the sky as he rounds the bases in celebration — a gesture meant for Garcia.
“It was so crazy, like, the fact that — I really feel like that adrenaline that Carlos had, and knowing that Jalen was in his mind really helped him push even harder,” Rodriguez told KTRK of the magical moment.
The Astros will now try to take the lead over the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS on Tuesday afternoon in New York.