Correa powers Astros to 7-1 win over Phillies
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) Shortstop prospect Carlos Correa hit his second home run of the spring, leading the Houston Astros to a 7-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.
With one out in the fourth inning, the No.1 pick of the 2012 draft, hit a curveball from right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez over the left field fence. The 20-year-old Correa finished the game 2 for 4 with two RBIs.
Correa is hitting .297 (11 for 37) in 17 games. He's slated to begin the season in the minor leagues.
Hank Conger, the Astros backup catcher, also homered and had two hits. He caught all nine innings.
''He worked our guys very, very well,'' Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. ''He had a couple of key pitch calls that got us out of a situation where we had runners on base. He swung the bat very well and had a great base running play that will go unnoticed. He had a good all-around day.''
Phillies: Gonzalez did not improve his chances of earning a very-wide open competition for the fifth spot in the Phillies' rotation. Gonzalez allowed consecutive hits to the first three batters in the second inning and then back-to-back, one-out home runs in the fourth en route to his third loss of the spring. The 28-year-old Gonzalez, a Cuban import in the second year of a three-year, $12 million contract, has a 7.53 ERA in five starts this spring.
''It doesn't worry me because it's a decision that's out of my hands,'' Gonzalez said of his odds at breaking camp with the team next ned week. ''I'm here to do my best and whatever decisions management comes up with, I can live with it.''
Astros: Right-hander Asher Wojciechowski continued to make a strong case for the fifth spot in the rotation. He held the Phillies to one run on four hits in 4 2-3 innings, striking out four without walking a batter. Wojciechowski's 1.08 ERA is second best in the Grapefruit League this spring. He's struck out 13 and walked four in 16 2-3 innings. Free agent Roberto Hernandez entered camp as the favorite for the fifth starter spot.
''There's a real focus on how he's going about competing for this job,'' Houston manager A.J. Hinch said of Wojciechowski.
Phillies: Outfielder Domonic Brown was out of the lineup for the sixth straight game with left achilles tendinitis. Brown has played catch in the last three or four days and began hitting again on Wednesday. Brown hopes to return to the field within the next four to five days. Whether he's able to catch up in at-bats for opening day is uncertain. . Right-hander Chad Billingsley, who has been limited to two starts the last two years after having two elbow operations, will pitch Thursday in his second minor league game in the last week. He could join the Phillies rotation in late April.
Astros: Outfielders Jonathan Villar and Robbie Grossman tripped over each other in a near-collision in right-center field when Chase Utley hit a ball into the gap in the fourth inning. Hinch removed both players from the game before the next inning began for precautionary reasons. Villar, a converted infielder who started in center, made the catch on the play.
Phillies: travel to Dunedin for the first time this spring to take on the Toronto Blue Jays. Cole Hamels is on tap to make his fifth start of the spring, and second-to-last tuneup before opening day April 6 against the Boston Red Sox.
Astros: have a scheduled day off on Thursday. They'll return to the field on Friday, when they play host to Miami. Former Astros pitcher Jarred Cosart is tentatively in line to face his former team. Houston will start left-hander Dallas Keuchel.
MIKE ON THE MIC
Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt will be back in the Phillies television broadcas booth this season - with an expanded role. Schmidt, who joined the Comcast SportsNet crew in 2014 as an analyst during Sunday home games, will work Saturdays in 2015, too. Schmidt will work a total of 26 broadcasts, up from 13 last year. He joins a crew that includes play-by-play man Tom McCarthy and fellow analysts Matt Stairs, Ben Davis and field reporter Gregg Murphy.