Correa ignites power surge as Astros top Rox
DENVER -- The Astros demonstrated that they can overpower the Rockies in any venue. Carlos Correa, Preston Tucker, Jake Marisnick and Chris Carter went deep as the Astros beat the Rockies, 8-4, at Coors Field on Wednesday night.
"We've gotten it all throughout the lineup all year," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "That's one thing we probably haven't talked about enough is how spread out it is with Carter, with [Luis] Valbuena, with Correa coming up. Marisnick and [Jason] Castro at the bottom of the order have a few, so we're getting contributions from everywhere. That's a complete offense when we do."
The Astros had hit six homers while taking games the previous two days at Minute Maid Park, and they kept slugging Wednesday. Correa, 20, in his ninth Major League game, hit his third homer -- for two runs in the first off Kyle Kendrick (2-9).
"Those young kids were just hacking," Kendrick said. "[Correa] put a good swing on it, and it's hard to set those guys up like that. It was a ball off the plate, and he found a way to put the barrel on it."
The Rockies, losers of seven of their last eight games, scored twice on three hits in the fourth to cut the difference to 3-2. But Tucker parked a solo shot in the fifth off Kendrick, who has given up 18 homers this season, the most in the Majors.
Marisnick led off the sixth with his fifth homer, off reliever Christian Friedrich. Carter added his 12th homer of the year with a two-run shot in the ninth off John Axford -- accounting for the second and third earned runs off Axford this season. The Astros improved to 26-0 in games with multiple homers.
"It's tough because I think we're a better team than the way we're playing right now," said Carlos Gonzalez, who launched a second-deck home run off Chad Qualls in the ninth. "We're playing against a young team who is ready to hack. When you get close in the game, for some reason they come back and hit another home run."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Astros enjoy slugfest: It only figures the team that ranks first in the Major Leagues in home runs would have a field day at Coors Field. The Astros blasted four home runs by four different players -- Correa, Tucker, Marisnick and Carter -- giving them 95 for the season. They've hit 10 home runs in three games against the Rockies this week, and have 12 in their past four games overall.
"It's fun," Tucker said. "I think we're excited to get back in there and get another at-bat. Everyone felt confident today, and the last couple of days we've been swinging the bats well. We're going to go at it tomorrow and try to do the same things."
No momentum: The Astros' early domination of Kendrick (four runs, seven hits, five innings) took steam from the Rockies, who mounted little scoring despite two-hit nights from Charlie Blackmon, Troy Tulowitzki and Nolan Arenado -- each of whom doubled once. The biggest blow came in the sixth, when Blackmon doubled but stayed still after Brett Oberholtzer fanned DJ LeMahieu and induced fly balls from Tulowitzki and Gonzalez.
Oberholzer wins again: The lefty won his second consecutive decision with another solid outing, allowing three runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. Oberholtzer, who threw five scoreless innings in his previous start against Seattle, was making his fourth start since returning from the disabled list for the second time because of a blister.
"Obie has done well the last couple of starts," Hinch said. "He gives us a different look in the rotation. His fastball, changeup combo is good. A second lefty pitching well could be nice to have."
How it's done: The game was played before the watchful eyes of Brendan Rodgers, a Lake Mary (Fla.) High School product whom the Rockies selected third overall and signed to a $5.5 million bonus Wednesday. Tulowitzki demonstrated the type of play Rodgers hopes to make -- a spin-o-rama throw to retire Correa at first in the top of the ninth.
"To win games, you've got to be able to hold your opponent. Sometimes, we need to have a guy that gets on the mound and stops their offense, so we can go out there and put some runs on the board and feel like we've got the lead." -- Gonzalez
"It can be an explosive offense when we get going." -- Hinch
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Correa has a franchise-record 14 hits through his first nine career games.
Hinch successfully challenged a play at second base in the third inning. Blackmon appeared to swipe second base with two outs, but Hinch successfully challenged that Blackmon's foot came off the bag as the tag was being applied. Blackmon was ruled out, and the inning was over.
It was double pain for the Rockies. Manager Walt Weiss argued that because the pitcher was on the mound and the batter was in the box, Hinch's challenge came too late. Weiss' protest earned him his second ejection this season and fourth of his managerial career.
A later replay, after a challenge by Hinch, upheld the Rockies' best defensive play of the night. Righty reliever Justin Miller, in his first game since being called up from Triple-Albuquerque -- barehanded Evan Gattis' eighth-inning chopper and threw just in time.
Astros: The Astros will try to beat the Rockies for the fourth game in a row at 2:10 p.m. CT Thursday when they send right-hander Collin McHugh to the mound at Coors Field. After starting the season 3-0 with a 2.92 ERA in his first four starts, McHugh is 3-3 with a 6.05 ERA in his last nine starts.
Rockies: The Rockies will send right-hander David Hale to the mound in hopes of securing their first win over Houston in this home-and home series. Hale is 0-2 with a 3.78 ERA in 16 career day games (three starts), and he'll be making his third start since permanently joining the Colorado rotation. First pitch is at 1:10 MT.
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