Kevin Correia continues April magic

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Twins right-hander Kevin Correia shut out the Rangers over eight innings this afternoon, scattering six hits (all singles) and one walk while striking out two. His ERA after five starts rests at 2.23, a stunning statistic for the veteran with a career 4.50 ERA. Correia has gone at least seven innings in all five of his starts and has walked exactly one in all five as well. The Twins, right now, are quite happy they plucked him out of the free agent pool with a two-year, $10 million contract.

For some as yet unexplained reason,  though, Correia has pitched like an ace in April in recent years, but quickly turned back into a pumpkin once the calendar turned to May. Consider his monthly ERA dating back to 2010:

April May June July August Sept/Oct
2010 3.86 5.22 7.83 3.90 7.20 1.91
2011 2.90 4.15 4.46 6.08 8.41
2012 2.42 5.70 4.36 5.04 4.01 3.50
2013 2.23

Is this the year Correia bucks the trend? The Twins have won in four of his five starts and are now a game over .500. With a good Correia, the Twins — currently with two starters with an ERA north of 6.00, and two others north of 4.00 — aren’t as much of an afterthought in the AL Central.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

albert pujols
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).