It came together for Correia against a tough lineup Tuesday night, as he tossed six-plus scoreless innings, and Brian Dozier homered to carry the Twins to a 4-0 win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
It was a bounce-back performance from Correia, who entered with a 6.11 ERA and struggled in his previous outing. The right-hander scattered just six hits and a walk while needing 99 pitches to get through six-plus frames. He has quietly pitched better of late, as he has a 3.90 ERA over his last five starts.
"It was good because I think I threw the ball not much different than I've been throwing the ball," Correia said. "I think some balls got hit to people and saved us some runs. And that's what you need to have good results. I just think I've been semi-unlucky."
The numbers do bear out some bad luck for Correia this year, as advanced statistics such as his Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) have shown he hasn't pitched much different than last year when he had a 4.18 ERA in 31 starts. In fact, his FIP, which measures what a player's ERA should look like based on strikeouts, walks and homers allowed, is actually lower this year (4.13) than it was last year (4.40).
He pitched out of a jam in the second inning, as he loaded the bases with one out, but was able to get out of it unscathed. He made a nice behind-the-back stab on a comebacker from Jose Reyes to get a forceout at home before getting Melky Cabrera to ground out to first base to end the inning.
The behind-the-back play was the kind of good fortune that Correia believes has been missing in several of his starts this year.
"It was huge," Correia said. "It probably would've been two runs if I don't make that play and could've changed the outcome of the game. I just didn't realize it was in my glove right away so I turned around to look at second to try to see the ball go by me and it was in my glove."
Correia settled down from there, as he retired 13 in a row after loading the bases in the second until he gave up a two-out single to Adam Lind in the sixth inning. Correia faced one batter in the seventh, giving up a leadoff single to Dioner Navarro before being removed from the game in favor of left-hander Brian Duensing, who stranded Navarro at first with a scoreless inning.
Correia was spotted an early two-run lead thanks to a two-run blast from Dozier in the first inning off Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ. It was Dozier's second in as many games, and his team-leading 14th homer of the year.
"He's pretty good," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You make a mistake, he jumps on it and it's been going a long ways for him."
Minnesota added two more runs in the fourth after loading the bases with nobody out. The Twins were in danger of leaving the bases loaded after Kurt Suzuki and Eduardo Escobar struck out, but Danny Santana came through with an infield single that brought home two runs, as third baseman Juan Francisco's throw to first sailed high and into the stands.
"He's dangerous when he puts the ball in play," Gardenhire said. "It shows what speed does. The guy had to hurry and try to make a play on him and the ball goes down the line."
Kendrys Morales, playing in his second game of the season, started the bases loaded rally with an infield single to shortstop, and went 2-for-5 with a double. He has fared just fine at the plate through his first two games and hasn't showed any signs of rust, going 3-for-8 with a walk.
"He's swinging," Gardenhire said. "He's fun to watch. He laid down an infield single and we didn't know he could do that. So he's up there hacking. It doesn't look like he's missed that much action."
Relievers Jared Burton and Glen Perkins each threw a scoreless inning in relief to preserve the win for the Twins, who moved back to three games under .500 on the season at 30-33. It handed the Blue Jays their third shutout over their last four games after being held scoreless just once through their first 62 games.
"Didn't see that coming but, naturally, as hot as we were, you figured we were going to cool off a bit," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We hit some balls on the money tonight, right at guys, but Correia I thought he was hitting his spots good too. When you're not hitting, not scoring runs, you have to match them on the mound and we didn't do that."