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Astros finish spring training 21-9 as Correa hits grand slam

Houston Astros' Carlos Correa (1) celebrates his grand slam against the Milwaukee Brewers with teammates during the first inning of a spring training baseball exhibition game at Minute Maid Park Tuesday, March 27, 2018, in Houston. (Godofredo A. Vasquez/Houston Chronicle via AP)

The Astros appear ready to start the defense of their first World Series title.

Carlos Correa hit a first-inning grand slam, and the Astros beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-1 Tuesday to finish the exhibition season 21-9, just behind Boston's major league-leading 22-9.

"We had a really good spring, I'm happy with where we're at but we're ready for the season," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "It was a unique spring. If you stay in baseball long enough you'll have different types of springs. You'll have good ones, you'll have bad ones. You'll have some where you are trying to set a 25-man roster at the very last minute. Then you have some like now where we had a decision or two to make but for the most part it was fairly predictable what we were going to do down to the finish line.

"This group has been itching to get to the season. Now it's here."

The Astros open at AL West rival Texas on Thursday, when Milwaukee starts at San Diego.

Correa had three homers and 11 RBIs in spring training. He hit a career-high 24 home runs last season.

"Well he's really good to begin with but he's taken a step forward in different parts of his game," Hinch said. "Maturity for him is big because he's not a finished product yet and that's scary for the rest of the league. This guy can do anything on the baseball field.

World Series Game 7 starter Charlie Morton allowed one hit in 5 1/3 scoreless innings, struck out eight and walked none. After the first inning, Morton retired 13 of his next 14 batters

Against Miami on Thursday, Morton was tagged for nine runs on 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings.

"It doesn't really put it out of my mind," Morton said. "I was more concerned with my execution and just not mixing. Today I mixed a lot, I threw my pitches for strikes and I got pretty good results. That's what I'm trying to do, I know I can do it I just have to do it."

Brewers starter Zach Davies gave up six runs and six hits in three innings, including Correa's slam. Davies had surrendered just three runs in 11 1/3 innings coming in.

"It was kind of a weird first inning," Davies said. "One bad pitch to the wrong guy and it'll end up like that. But I was happy to bounce back, and there weren't too many pitches I was upset about. They had some pretty good at-bats. It's always a good time to struggle and try to figure your way out of it when it doesn't count."

UP NEXT

Brewers: Chase Anderson (0-0) will be the fifth different opening day starter for the Brewers in the last five years. Milwaukee hasn't gone through a stretch like this since 1996-2000.

Astros: Justin Verlander (0-0) will start the title defense, his 10th opener in 11 years. The others were for Detroit.

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