Correa crushes HR, sparks PR in WBC '17

Astros' star hits 441-foot blast, dazzles at third base

Correa crushes HR, sparks PR in WBC '17

Carlos Correa showed again on Monday night why he is one of the brightest young stars in baseball, and it only took him two innings at Dodger Stadium. The 22-year-old Astros shortstop, playing third base for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, homered and made a spectacular defensive play in his team's 4-3 victory in 11 innings over the Netherlands.

With Francisco Lindor on second and one out in the bottom of the first, Correa launched a 1-2 curveball from Dutch starter Rick Van Den Hurk into the left-center-field bleachers to tie the score at 2. The 441-foot blast was Puerto Rico's answer to Wladimir Balentien's 422-foot shot to nearly the same location in the top of the inning.

Correa's home run had an exit velocity of 109.5 mph at a launch angle of 23 degrees, per Statcast™. It is also the ninth-longest ball hit at Dodger Stadium in the Statcast™ era, which began at the start of the 2015 season.

"I would say it was one of the most exciting [home runs], undoubtedly, and to do it in this semifinal game, and to be able to tie it in the first inning against the Netherlands, it meant tremendously to us and for me personally," Correa said.

In the top of the second, Correa -- who had never played a professional inning at third base prior to the Classic -- made another great play at the hot corner, snaring a Yurendell Decaster smash that took a wicked hop. Correa backhanded the ball beautifully while going down to a knee, straightened up and fired to first for the out.

"In my case, I didn't feel any pressure. I just stood at third base and waited," Correa said. "Simply, when I feel that I'm all excited, I tried to calm down, breathe deep, and concentrate on what we're doing. This is something that we rehearse every day. So we will be able to do it well at the end."

Correa has been playing a huge role in Puerto Rico's undefeated run, batting .400 (8-for-20) with three homers and scoring the winning run in the 11th inning Monday.

Puerto Rico will face the winner of Tuesday's USA-Japan game at 9 p.m. ET in the final. You can watch all Championship Round games live on MLB.TV and MLB Network. Puerto Rico would be the home team vs. the U.S., but if it were to meet Japan, the home-road teams will be determined by a coin flip.

The World Baseball Classic runs through Wednesday. In the U.S., games air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament is being distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.