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Minnesota Twins' Eduardo Escobar flies out against the Colorado Rockies in the fifth inning of an interleague baseball game in Denver on Saturday, July 12, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

David Zalubowski, ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP

Kevin Correia lowered his ERA to 4.61 by making it through six innings against a tough Rockies lineup. With his contract up after the season, he is a possible trade candidate for a contending team.

Feed Loader,

Plenty of support for Correia as Twins win over Colorado in a rout

  • Article by: La VELLE E. NEAL III
  • Star Tribune
  • July 12, 2014 - 11:42 PM

– Questions have been asked about Kevin Correia throughout the first half of the Twins’ season.

When he had an ERA over 6.00 in May, Correia was asked about losing his spot in the rotation. “I’m not above the law,” he replied.

Nearly two months later, Correia is churning out quality starts, his ERA is tumbling and teams in need of pitching might call and ask, “Is Correia above being traded?”

He was at it again Saturday, battling his way through the Rockies lineup and leading the Twins to a 9-3 victory at Coors Field. The Twins raced out to a 4-0 lead — with Correia contributing an RBI double — and poured it on late with five runs over the final two innings. They have clinched a winning road trip and can head into the All-Star break with a 5-2 record on the trip by winning Sunday, when Phil Hughes takes the mound.

Correia (5-11) held Colorado to one run over six innings on seven hits and a walk with one strikeout. Over his past seven starts he has posted a 2.30 ERA. Over his past 11 starts, it’s 3.22.

On May 14, Correia’s ERA was 6.80. Now it’s 4.61.

“He threw the ball really well,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

That’s what some scouts might tell their employers, too. The Yankees and Blue Jays, two teams believed to be looking for pitching, were in attendance Saturday.

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan has not officially said the Twins will be sellers before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline, but he has indicated that the club has not convinced him he should be a buyer. Veterans such as Correia could be coveted by contenders before the deadline. And Correia, in the second year of a two-year, $10 million deal with the Twins, said a player is always aware of what could happen.

“This is my 12th major league season,” he said. “I’ve never been traded. So I don’t concern myself with it. You see other guys traded constantly. At this point in my career I don’t worry about it too much. But it’s always on the back burner. You never know what’s going to happen.

“I like it here. I’ve always said that. But it’s a business and I’m aware of that.”

Correia got early support from the Twins offense, as Kendrys Morales delivered a two-run double in the first inning off lefthander Tyler Matzek (1-4), drawing a roar from the few thousand Twins fans among the announced attendance of 35,930.

Eduardo Escobar homered in the third inning for a 3-0 lead. And with two out in the fourth and Josh Willingham on third, Correia, a .115 career hitter, smacked a double down the third-base line to put the Twins up 4-0. It was the first double by a Twins pitcher since Scott Baker hit one May 21, 2011.

“I think everyone was excited about that,” Gardenhire said. “I’m sure he was, until he got to second base and has to breathe this light air.”

Correia’s outing was boosted by Brian Dozier, who threw out Charlie Blackmon at home to end the third. Dozier fielded Justin Morneau’s single in the grass behind second and made a running throw home.

“I had no idea where he was throwing the ball when he let it go,” Gardenhire said. “It turned out right at home.”

Correia then got NL MVP candidate Troy Tulowitzki to hit into a double play, escaping a fifth-inning jam. Another thing scouts will like about Correia: He is 3-3 with a tidy 3.35 ERA in 16 games at high-altitude Coors Field.

“I’m pretty comfortable pitching in this park,” he said. “I’ve thrown a lot here. This is where I made my major league debut [in 2003], so I was hoping to go out there and get a win.”

 

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