HOUSTON — With each stinging line drive, Jose Altuve is putting his stamp on this October. Same with every pitch from Justin Verlander, no matter the inning or score.

Altuve raced home on Carlos Correa’s double in the ninth inning, Verlander struck out 13 in a complete game and the Astros beat the New York Yankees 2-1 on Saturday for a 2-0 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Correa also homered, but Houston needed a dash from Altuve to get Verlander a win.

Altuve reached with a one-out single against closer Aroldis Chapman, then sprinted around from first base on Correa’s shot to right-center. Shortstop Didi Gregorius’ relay beat Altuve to the plate, but catcher Gary Sanchez misplayed a short hop, allowing Altuve to slide past.

“When I saw him running I was like, ‘Oh God,’” Correa said. “And then he beat it out.”

Altuve had two more hits and is 13 for 23 (.565) this postseason after going just 4 for 26 (.154) in the 2015 playoffs.

“He’s unbelievable,” Verlander said. “The guy does everything.”

Verlander improved to 8-0 in eight appearances with Houston since agreeing to an Aug. 31 trade from the Tigers, including his Game 4 win in relief against Boston. He has a 2.04 ERA over a postseason-best 17 2/3 innings.

“When I decided to say yes, these are the moments that you envision,” Verlander said of agreeing to the trade. “You don’t envision going 5-0 in the regular season once you get here, that’s all fine and great, but that’s not why I was brought here. I was brought here to help this team win a championship.”

Verlander set a postseason career best for strikeouts and allowed five hits in his second career complete game in the playoffs. He threw a season-high 124 pitches, and retired Aaron Judge, Sanchez and Greg Bird in the top of the ninth.

“This is such a big moment for our team, but he put us on his back today with his pitching,” Manager A.J. Hinch said.

Dallas Keuchel won Game 1 for the Astros – also 2-1 – pairing with Verlander to give the Astros perhaps the best 1-2 punch in these playoffs.

“That was one of the most impressive things I’ve seen in my professional career for sure,” Keuchel said. “But that’s why we got him, for his postseason pedigree.”

In the bottom of the ninth, Judge picked up Correa’s hit in right field and threw toward second base. Gregorius fielded there and his throw beat Altuve to the plate by a few steps, but Sanchez just couldn’t squeeze the one-hopper.

“That’s a play I’m used to making,” Sanchez said through a translator. “Really thought I had a chance at making that play there. Unfortunately I dropped the ball and couldn’t make that play.”

Correa’s homer in the fourth off  Luis Severino sailed just out of reach of Judge and 12-year-old Carson Riley, who was sitting in the front row in right field. The ball bounced off Riley’s glove and into the stands, and manager Joe Girardi asked for a video review to check for fan interference. Umpires upheld the call.

Riley hopes to get the ball signed by Correa and called the moment: “A really cool one.”

It was reminiscent of a homer by Derek Jeter in Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS between the Yankees and Orioles. A 12-year-old Jeffrey Maier reached out and deflected Jeter’s hit into the stands, but umpires ruled it a home run.

The 23-year-old Correa is the fifth player ever with five home runs in the postseason before turning 24.

Todd Frazier drove in New York’s run with a ground-rule double in the fifth when his shot to left-center got stuck in the chain-link fence protecting the visitors’ bullpen. Center fielder George Springer tossed his glove in the air several times attempting to knock the ball loose, but never got close to hitting it.

Severino allowed two hits and a run in four innings. He was hit by a comebacker from Yuli Gurriel on the last out of the fourth, but it was unclear if he was injured on the play.

Verlander got out of the third inning unscathed thanks to two big defensive plays. The first came when Josh Reddick made a leaping catch before crashing into the low wall in right field to rob Chase Headley of a hit for the second out of the inning.

Verlander raised his right fist into the air after the catch before pounding it into his glove several times to acknowledge Reddick’s work.

Brett Gardner followed with a rip to the corner of right field, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. Reddick threw it to Correa, whose one-hop to third base was just in time for Alex Bregman to tag Gardner out. He was initially ruled safe, but Bregman was so confident in his tag that he walked off the field as soon as the play was done. Hinch challenged, and it was quickly overturned.

UP NEXT

Yankees: CC Sabathia will start Game 3 on Monday in New York. It will be his third start this postseason and 21st career playoff start. The 37-year-old lefty allowed eight hits and six runs – four earned – with 14 strikeouts across 9 2/3 innings in two starts in the ALDS.

Astros: Charlie Morton is scheduled to pitch for Houston in Game 3. He allowed seven hits and two runs in 4 1/3 innings of Houston’s 5-4 win over the Red Sox in Game 4 of the ALDS.