The expectations for Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa likely will remain elevated through the remainder of his prime, a byproduct of his being the first overall selection in the 2012 draft.
Thus far this season, extraordinary results had eluded Correa. He began the Astros’ current homestandhaving gone hitless over the final five games of the previous road trip, producing an 0-for-19 stretch following his four-hit game against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 30.
Correa recorded his second multi-hit performance of the homestand Saturday in a 6-5 win over the Texas Rangers, going 2-for-3 with a pair of runs plus a two-run home run. Correa also drew a walk, his sixth of the homestand, and is 8-for-29 with nine runs, four RBIs and two home runs since the Astros returned from their road trip.
“He’s been hitting the ball well and everybody likes to see results because he’s been working hard in the cage with (hitting coach) Alex Cintron,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “You always want to see some fruits of your hard work.
“Carlos is just finding some holes. He’s not doing anything different. He’s finding some holes and he hit one over the fence. It’s great to see him smile, it’s great to see him happy.”
Right-hander Lance McCullers (3-1, 3.10 ERA) will start Sunday as the Astros attempt to complete a four-game sweep of the Rangers and an 8-2 homestand. He is coming off his longest outing of the season, having logged eight innings while allowing one run on three hits and two walks with a season-high tying nine strikeouts against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.
McCullers is 1-4 with a 4.23 ERA over nine career starts against Texas. He owns a 2.63 ERA at Minute Maid Park.
Right-hander Kyle Gibson (3-0, 2.28 ERA) will start the series finale for the Rangers on Sunday.
Gibson is working on extra rest after taking the no-decision in the Rangers’ 3-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants last Monday. He allowed one run on four hits and two walks with six strikeouts over six innings.
Gibson is 4-2 with a 2.59 ERA over nine career starts against the Astros, including a 2-2 record and 2.12 ERA in four starts at Minute Maid Park. He twirled a one-hitter in his previous start in Houston, earning a 1-0 victory while allowing four hits with nine strikeouts while going the distance.
Texas won seven of nine games to climb to .500 on May 9 but has dropped five consecutive contests to match the low-water mark when the Rangers were 11-16 on April 30. During the losing skid, the Rangers have lost by two runs twice and dropped a pair of one-run decisions to the Astros.
“I don’t know where we’re going to be in the standings five days from now but I know these guys are going to fight,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “That’s the one thing I trust. We’ve got to play a little bit better to win games and this is not an easy team to play … but it was nice to get a couple big hits late to get back in the game.”
–Field Level Media