Carlos Correa's entered Saturday on a seven-game hitting streak, but it wasn't until the eighth game that he got the results he was looking for.
"The last couple games, I've been hitting the ball pretty hard, but it's been going right at people. I've been hitting it right at everybody," the Astros' top prospect said. "When you have a game like tonight's, it makes you more confident and you build on it."
Correa established career highs with five hits and six RBIs while leading Class A Lancaster to a 12-5 win at High Desert. The JetHawks set season highs for runs and hits (18) and grabbed sole possession of first place in the California League South Division.
"It was a great game overall. My teammates did a great job, too," Correa said, "and I was able to come through and help the team win."
The 19-year-old shortstop missed seven days from April 25-May 1 after feeling a tweak in his right shoulder while hitting wearing a back pad.
"It was kind of weird," he said. "When I pulled back, I felt a sharp pain on rotator cuff."
Correa was 0-for-3 with a run scored in his first game back but has hit safely in each subsequent tilt, going 5-for-6 on Saturday to get his average up to .322. More importantly, he has not experienced any shoulder discomfort since returning.
"I'm feeling pretty good," he said. "I've been going out there and playing hard every day, working on my defense and trying to have good at-bats."
As good as the night was for MLB.com's seventh-ranked overall prospect, he narrowly missed an even bigger performance. His first-inning at-bat against Mavericks starter Danny Unsworth was the only time he was retired.
"He threw me a 2-2 curveball," Correa said. "I kind of missed it a little bit, but I hit it really high out into the right-center gap and [center fielder Aaron Barbosa] caught it almost on the warning track."
Facing Unsworth again in the third, Correa lined a single the other way to right field. That two-out hit plated Tony Kemp, who was 4-for-6 with an RBI and four runs scored. In the fifth, Correa doubled home Kemp and No. 13 Astros prospect Teoscar Hernandez. For Correa, the two-bagger was confirmation he's been on the right track.
"When I got my double, I got a lot of confidence," he said. "If something is making you successful, you keep doing it. You don't change it."
The top overall pick in the 2012 Draft drove in Kemp and Hernandez again with a sixth-inning single, then singled home Kemp again in the seventh. He added one more base hit in the ninth.
Correa said he knew during the game that he was working on a career night.
"I was pretty aware of that. I knew six ribbies was my most and five hits -- the most I got [before] was four. So after that fifth hit, it felt great. "
Hernandez finished 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI, two runs scored and a walk.
The JetHawks' big night at the plate helped Kent Emanuel (1-0) record his first Cal League win. He allowed two runs on five hits over five innings, with Astros' No. 5 prospect Lance McCullers picking up his third save, despite giving up three runs on five hits and four walks with four strikeouts in four frames.