Correia tops off quality start with RBI on first hit with Twins
JUL 12, 2014 8:18p ET
It took until Correia's 50th start in a Minnesota uniform before collecting his first hit as an American League pitcher, and he helped his own cause in the process. Correia not only threw six innings of one-run ball Saturday against Colorado, but his RBI double down the left-field line helped the Twins top the Rockies 9-3 at Coors Field.
Though Correia already had a 3-0 cushion when he stepped to the plate in the top of the fourth inning, he had a chance to add to that lead. Josh Willingham doubled to lead off the inning and eventually advanced to third on a groundout by Eric Fryer. With two outs, Correia connected for his fifth career double, and his first since 2011, to drive in Willingham and put Minnesota on top 4-0.
Correia's double came on the first pitch, too, a 93 mph fastball from Rockies starter Tyler Matzek. It was his 33rd career hit and the 13th RBI of his career. Though Correia was left stranded on second, the four runs were more than enough support to back up his day on the mound.
The 33-year-old Correia has now gone at least six innings in his last seven starts, and Saturday's outing was the sixth quality start during that stretch. After a rough opening to the 2014 season, Correia has slowly but surely steadied himself and is now one of Minnesota's more reliable starters -- which he was for all of 2013.
Correia's ERA after a brutal April was 7.33. Even in early June it was still at 6.11 before he went on a roll. Saturday's one run in six innings helped drop Correia's ERA to 4.61 -- still not great, but far better than it was a little more than a month ago. Over his last seven outings, Correia has a 2.30 ERA. In spite of that, Correia was the hard-luck loser in each of his last three outings. In his previous two starts, Minnesota's offense was shut out.
Given an early lead Saturday, Correia made sure not to squander it. He induced three fly-ball outs in the bottom of the first inning after a leadoff single and later worked around a one-out walk in the second.
Correia nearly allowed a run in the third inning but was the benefactor of instant replay. Former Twins first baseman Justin Morneau singled off Correia's glove toward center field, but second baseman Brian Dozier was playing deep enough to make a play on the ball. Dozier then threw to home plate in time to get Charlie Blackmon for the third out. After review, the call was upheld, and Correia's scoreless outing remained intact.
The only other time Correia had to wriggle his way out of trouble came in the bottom of the fifth inning. After already allowing a run in the inning, Correia had runners on first and second with just one out. But he was able to get Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki -- who represented the tying run at that point -- to ground to shortstop for a crucial inning-ending double play.
Despite putting two more runners on with two outs in the sixth, Correia escaped unharmed. He exited Saturday's game after six innings, with the Twins offense spotting him a 4-1 lead. Minnesota went on to score three more in the eighth and two more in the ninth to guarantee the victory for Correia, his fifth of the season.
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