The Astros won their fourth straight exhibition game today and the youngsters were the big story. One particular teenager, Carlos Correa, had a big day as the Astros topped Toronto 7-5 in Dunedin.
Correa took Jays’ starter Esmil Rogers deep in the third inning for his first homer of the spring, a solo shot to left. Jonathan Singleton made it back-to-back jacks with a bomb of his own, giving the visitors a 2-0 lead. It was Singleton’s first hit in 17 at-bats this spring. Correa added a 2-run shot to center in the eighth to stretch the Astros lead to 7-4.
Correa also had a good day with the glove. He made a perfect relay throw to cut down Jose Bautista at the plate in the first inning. That was the closest Toronto would come to scoring against Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel. The lefty scattered six hits in four innings of work, extending his scoreless streak to nine innings. Keuchel moved his record to 2-0 with a performance that featured a pair of strikeouts and zero walks. The veteran has forced his way into the conversation for a spot in the Astros starting rotation.
Collin McHugh followed Keuchel to the mound and the results weren’t as encouraging. McHugh allowed five base-runners and three runs in 1 & 2/3 innings pitched. The right-hander claimed off waivers from Colorado over the winter now sports a 14.29 ERA in exhibition play. A trip to AAA to start the season now seems likely for McHugh.
Kevin Chapman was the most effective pitcher out of the bullpen today, tossing 1 & 2/3 scoreless innings. Chapman appears to be the frontrunner for a left-handed relief spot. The Astros pounded out twelve hits, including a double by George Springer and a triple by Nolan Fontana. The club returns to Kissimmee for a 12:05 tilt with the Cardinals tomorrow.