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Correa's 424-foot HR extends hit streak to 16

Springer, Chirinos also go yard in Houston's win over KC
@brianmctaggart
May 7, 2019

HOUSTON -- Nearly an hour after the Astros had beaten the Royals, 6-4, on Monday night at Minute Maid Park, shortstop Carlos Correa emerged from the trainer’s room to an empty clubhouse, save for a couple of reporters. Correa is one of the most media-friendly players on the Astros, so

HOUSTON -- Nearly an hour after the Astros had beaten the Royals, 6-4, on Monday night at Minute Maid Park, shortstop Carlos Correa emerged from the trainer’s room to an empty clubhouse, save for a couple of reporters.

Correa is one of the most media-friendly players on the Astros, so making reporters wait to be interviewed isn’t malicious. It’s now part of Correa’s postgame routine to maintain the healthy back that he’s carried through the first six weeks of the season, and it’s clearly working.

Box score

Hampered in the second half of 2018 by back problems, a healthy Correa has been crushing the ball. He went 3-for-4 with a homer in the win over Kansas City, and extended his hitting streak to a career-high 16 games, which is also the longest active in the Majors.

“It feels good to step to the plate and be able to be quick and be able to let it go and swing hard and be able to do the things I want to do that I work on in the cage,” Correa said. “The routine has been great. To be able to stay healthy with the routine in the cage is paying off.”

After games, Correa said he uses a foam roller on his back, stretches his back for 10-15 minutes and spends time in the hot tub. If he doesn’t feel good after a dip in the hot tub, he stretches his back some more. When he feels good, he goes home.

Last year, he would shower and immediately go home after games.

“When it comes to my body, I spend a lot of time every single day stretching and doing everything that I need to do in order for me to be able to stay healthy every day,” he said. “That’s why you don’t see me after games. It takes me an hour in order for me to do my routine and wake up the next day feeling good.”

During his 16-game hitting streak, Correa is slashing .333/.366/.682 with six homers and 15 RBIs. Astros manager AJ Hinch said that Correa doesn’t concede at-bats, meaning he doesn’t let swinging at a bad pitch affect the rest of his at-bat. He’s covering all parts of the strike zone, and when pitchers pound him in, Correa is hitting some bullets to left field.

“He’s done a lot of really good things,” Hinch said. “There’s a lot of attention on his offense and rightfully so. He’s having great at-bats. He’s hitting the ball hard, he’s hitting the ball out of the ballpark, he’s playing great defense. All that together is very much the Carlos Correa we expect to get and we feel like we have.

“He’s had some really, really good stretches, and this is one of them. Obviously, he’s in a really good place.”

In the second inning, Correa crushed a 2-2 slider from Royals starter Jakob Junis, and sent it 424 feet over the left-center-field wall at Minute Maid Park to give the Astros a 2-0 lead.

“I was trying to see the ball deep,” Correa said. “He’s got a really good slider and he hung it in there, one of the few he hung tonight. I was able to put a good swing on it.”

Correa’s previous longest homer of the season was 396 feet off the Twins’ Ryne Harper on April 22. It’s Correa’s longest homer since hitting a 455-foot bomb last June 15, which also came off Junis in Kansas City.

“He’s a real offensive force,” Hinch said.

George Springer led off the game with a solo homer off Junis, giving him 27 leadoff homers in his career. Robinson Chirinos hit a two-run homer in the sixth off Junis to put the Astros ahead, 5-4, and make a winner out of Gerrit Cole, who gave up a pair of solo homers in 6 1/3 innings.

“Any time you can give your team a chance to win and ultimately win, it’s a good night,” Cole said.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.