Rookie Correa hits one of four Astros HRs in win over Rockies
Carlos Correa and the slugging Houston Astros certainly enjoyed their visit to hitter-friendly Coors Field on Wednesday night.
Correa hit one of Houston's four home runs, Brett Oberholtzer pitched effectively into the seventh inning and the Astros continued their season-long power surge with an 8-4 win over the Colorado Rockies.
Chris Carter, Preston Tucker and Jake Marisnick also homered for the first-place Astros, who have won four straight and lead the majors with 95 home runs.
"It's fun. When we're on defense we're excited to get back in there and get another at-bat," Tucker said. "Everyone felt confident today."
Correa and George Springer had three hits each, but All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve left in the third inning with more discomfort in his right hamstring.
"We've got to be so cautious with him, especially at high altitude," manager A.J. Hinch said. "I want to err on the side of caution. We can't afford to mess around with Jose."
The Astros didn't need Altuve's slick defense thanks to another big night at the plate. Houston pounded out 13 hits, including seven for extra bases.
"We got hot tonight with extra-base hits," Hinch said. "It can be an explosive offense when we get going."
Oberholtzer (2-1) followed up his eight shutout innings against Seattle on Friday with another strong outing. He allowed three runs and eight hits, struck out five and didn't walk a batter in 6 1-3 innings.
Oberholtzer worked around Charlie Blackmon's leadoff double in the sixth but left after allowing Nick Hundley's RBI single in the seventh.
"The offense came out hot and got some runs for me early," Oberholtzer said. "That gives me confidence to throw strikes and if I do miss, we're still up."
Carlos Gonzalez homered and Nolan Arenado and Troy Tulowitzki had two hits apiece for the Rockies, who have lost seven of eight. Kyle Kendrick fell to 0-4 in six Coors Field starts.
Kendrick (2-9) fell behind during a 34-pitch first inning in which the Astros took control. Springer singled to lead off and Correa, the top pick in the 2012 draft, followed with his third home run since making his major league debut June 8.
"I knew they were going to be aggressive," Kendrick said. "I tried to be aggressive myself and fell behind in counts and threw a lot of pitches. I had to battle."
Springer made it 3-0 with an RBI single in the second. Colorado got two back in the fourth on a sacrifice fly from Gonzalez and a single by Arenado.
Houston padded its lead after that. Tucker hit a solo home run in the fifth, Marisnick greeted reliever Christian Friedrich with a homer to lead off the sixth and Correa made it 6-2 with a ground-rule double that scored Jason Castro.
Carter hit a two-run homer, his 12th, off John Axford in the ninth.
Rockies manager Walt Weiss was ejected by second base umpire Jerry Layne for excessive arguing in the bottom of the third. Weiss was upset after the Astros were allowed to challenge a safe call on Blackmon's attempted steal of second base. The call was overturned upon review, but Weiss argued the challenge by Hinch came too late.
"The pitcher on the rubber, batter in the box, it's too late to challenge the previous play. That's the way we were told before the season started. I still felt it was too late," Weiss said.
Layne said Hinch had his foot on the top step of the dugout, which was enough to indicate he was challenging the play. The replay rule was modified before the season to allow a manager to challenge without approaching an umpire in order to speed up the replay process.
"Walt was not happy that he was allowed to challenge," Layne said. "But I don't think Walt understood when he actually initiated his challenge. You don't have to come out on the field anymore."
SIGNED AND SEALED
Brendan Rodgers signed with the Rockies, agreeing to a $5.5 million bonus. Rodgers, a shortstop out of Lake Mary High School in Florida, was the third overall pick in last week's draft. The value assigned to his slot was $6,223,300.
Astros: Altuve missed three of the previous four games with the hamstring injury, but before the game Hinch said Altuve was doing better. Altuve will get a planned day off Thursday and said he is fine. "I feel the same. I didn't make it worse. I didn't re-injure it. (Hinch) just didn't like what he saw," Altuve said.
Rockies: OF Corey Dickerson (left plantar fasciitis) went back on the 15-day disabled list after being activated last week. Dickerson played in five games but the injury, which cost him 23 games from May 19 to June 11, flared up. He said the plantar fascia has a small tear and needs time to develop scar tissue over the injured area. There is no timetable for his return.
Astros: RHP Collin McHugh (6-3, 5.08 ERA) will try to give the Astros a sweep of the four-game, home-and-home series. McHugh is coming off his shortest outing when he lasted just three innings against Seattle.
Rockies: RHP David Hale (2-1, 4.56) will try to stop Colorado's slide. Hale was a tough-luck loser in a 4-1 setback against Miami on Saturday.