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Correa Slams em, Cole Fans em. Astros over Cardinals 8-2

Carlos Correa’s first career grand slam/career high 5 RBI, and Gerrit Cole’s seven innings of one run pitching, glide Astros to easy win.

MLB: Houston Astros at St. Louis Cardinals Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

If anyone doubted the difference Carlos Correa would make on this team upon his return from IL, those doubts were dispelled tonight. After an o-fer night in his first night back from IL last night, tonight Correa showed himself already back at full strength tonight. With the bases loaded in the third inning, the Cardinals sent in a new pitcher, Michael Wacha, to face Correa, and keep the game within Cardinal reach, the Birds already down 2-0.

Wacha failed miserably. Correa powered a fastball to the bullpen in right field, giving Gerrit Cole and the Astros staff more than enough run support for a no doubt 8-2 win.

The Cole Train was a non-stop express tonight, with Cole going seven innings, allowing four hits and three walks. He fanned seven. Of course, a Cole outing would not be complete without at least one home run, and who better to oblige than slugger Paul Goldschmitt, who hit a solo shot in the fourth inning, making this the sixth game in a row in which he has homered.

For the season Cole is now 12-5, with a 2.94 ERA and 212 Ks. In July his record is 4-0 in five games, with 51 Ks and an even 2.00 ERA (before tonight’s game). Overall, he is third in the AL in ERA, first in xFIP, SIERA, strikeouts, and K/9. Is the destination of this express Cy Youngville?

The Cards scored their second run in the eighth on a single by Tommy Edman, who advanced to third when Yuli Gurriel botched a routine throw to first after a ground ball, allowing Yairo Munoz to reach first. Edman would score on a grounder by Jose Martinez, with Munoz seemingly taking out Correa at shortstop while receiving a throw from Jose Altuve. Correa appeared to have hurt his elbow but stayed in the game. He was later removed after the inning was over, but apparently it was just a routine late-inning substitution. Fingers crossed.

The final Astros runs would come in the eighth inning on a two-run George Springer triple off the center field wall, which missed being a home run by inches.

Yuli Gurriel had two more hits tonight, bringing his batting average to .298, and extending his current hitting streak to 14 games.

Tomorrow the Astros go for the series win against the Cards. They send Wade Miley (8-4, 3.18 ERA) to the mound against 2016 first round draft pick Dakota Hudson. (10-4, 3.61 ERA)

Game time 1:15 CDT.

Box score and videos HERE.