HOUSTON -- The way balls were leaving the bat on singles by George Springer, Josh Reddick and Jose Altuve to start Tuesday's game, it was only a matter of time before somebody on the Astros really made Braves starting pitcher Bartolo Colon pay.That somebody was Carlos Correa, who followed the
HOUSTON -- The way balls were leaving the bat on singles by George Springer, Josh Reddick and Jose Altuve to start Tuesday's game, it was only a matter of time before somebody on the Astros really made Braves starting pitcher Bartolo Colon pay.
That somebody was Carlos Correa, who followed the three leadoff singles with a mammoth 438-foot home run off the batter's eye in center field. Carlos Beltran, 40, followed with an upper-deck homer to right field off his fellow quadragenarian that traveled 428 feet to put the Braves in a 5-0 hole before Colon could even record an out.
"He was making mistakes over the plate, and we were able to capitalize and put good swings on those mistakes, and after that he settled in and was able to spot the ball where he wanted," Correa said after the Astros' 8-3 victory. "It was good that we came early out of the game and scored some runs and got a comfortable lead and were able to keep scoring runs."
• Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Correa and other #ASGWorthy players
To get a better idea of how well the Astros were crushing the ball, Statcast™ has you covered. The exit velocities were staggering: Springer 105.6 mph, Reddick 105.1 mph, Altuve 104.9, Correa 106.5 and Beltran 103.2. The Astros became the second team this season to put at least five first-inning balls in play with exit velocities of 100-plus mph (Baltimore on April 12).
"We did a great job of getting into the game, obviously," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "Five really good at-bats, especially early. Given what he gives us, you're going to take a single here and there, and we backed those up with three in a row, and then Correa's big homer and Beltran stamped the inning with another homer. It was a big inning for us, and arguably our best inning to start a game."
Reddick hit a solo homer off Colon in the fifth. It's the second time in the Statcast™ era that Colon has given up three homers in a start that had an exit velocity of 100 mph or more.
"I was definitely missing my spots with my fastball and to their credit they are tremendous hitters," Colon said. "So when I missed, they took advantage of it."
Beltran's homer was his first since he turned 40 last month and the fourth of his career against Colon, whom he last homered against in 2001.
• This is 40: Beltran homers off Colon
"It was an old battle," Beltran joked. "Bartolo's a competitor, man. I have to give him a lot of credit. He's been in the league for a long time, and he has been able to reinvent himself. He was a hard-thrower type of a pitcher, now he's more of a location type of guy. But at the same time, he has had some great seasons. I've faced him a lot. I was looking for a good pitch to hit and hopefully stay in the middle of the field with him. I got a sinker on the inside part of the plate, and I was able to stay inside and got a good result."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.