Correa ignites Astros as bat heats up

Shortstop breaks out with HR, 4 hits in win over Rangers

Correa ignites Astros as bat heats up

HOUSTON -- A.J. Hinch's confidence in the bat of shortstop Carlos Correa never wavered.

The Astros' manager stayed committed to Correa in the fourth spot in the lineup despite a slow start in which he was batting .196 with one home run and three RBIs with more strikeouts (12) than hits (11) through the Astros' first 15 games. Correa began to swing the bat better at the end of April, and on Wednesday he delivered a 4-for-5 night with a homer in the Astros' 10-1 win over Texas.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Correa and other #ASGWorthy players

"I didn't think he was going to go a whole season without having a breakout night like this," Hinch said. "He's had some along the way. What happens in baseball is we put too much emphasis in the cumulative stats and you forget some of the quality plate appearances that come along the way. A night like tonight we expect him to have every night, but it's the big leagues; you can't do that.

"Over the course of 600 at-bats, you're going to have a 50- or 80- or 100-at-bat inconsistency. He might have had his at the beginning. There's not a panic in him. There's no panic in me about him. He's in the middle of the order for a reason, and he's going to be big for us, like he was tonight."

Correa claims Astros' wrestling belt

Correa is hitting .333 (14-for-42) in his last 10 games with two homers and eight RBIs. He led off the second inning Thursday with a home run to right and added a double in the third and singles in the fifth and seventh innings. His eighth-inning strikeout was the Astros' only whiff of the game.

"You know it's going to be an interesting night when you hit a homer in the first at-bat," he said. "You just can't be comfortable or get complacent. You have to look for more, and today was a great day."

Correa and Springer on 10-1 win

Correa's four-hit game was only the second of his career and the first since he went 4-for-5 on April 6, 2016, at Yankee Stadium.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.