Goodbye, baseball. Hello, victory. Chris Carter’s second home run Wednesday backed up another strong Minute Maid Park outing by Bud Norris and lifted the struggling Astros to a 4-1 victory against the Rays before an announced crowd of 14,143. Carter fouled off three fastballs from Rays reliever Jake McGee. Then he turned a 3-2 count, 98 mph two-seamer into a go-ahead three-run blast in the seventh inning. “There was no doubt – I knew it when I hit it,” said Carter, who went 2-for-3 and drove in all four of the Astros’ runs. While Carter leads Major League Baseball in strikeouts (115) and is hitting just .231, he also tops the Astros in homers (17) and is tied with Matt Dominguez for first in RBIs (44). It’s the raw power the Astros were hoping for when they acquired Carter, 26, from Oakland during the Jed Lowrie trade. And the first-year everyday player – whose plate discipline is improving; he saw 15 combined pitches during his at-bats that produced homers Wednesday — continues to show signs he can stick around during the Astros’ rebuild. “He has a chance to hit 30 home runs and drive in a 100 (runs),” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “And when you see that kind of progression … you say to yourself, ‘This guy has a chance to be a middle-of-the-order bat that could be very productive.’ ” With the win, the Astros (31-54) snapped a five-game losing streak and prevented the Rays (45-40) from taking the four-game series. The finale is Thursday. After 22 innings of offensive nothingness, Carter finally put the Astros on the board in the second inning. Hitting .226 entering Wednesday, he reached down and golfed a deep shot to left field on a 3-2 fastball that was the seventh pitch of the at-bat. Carter’s homer marked the first time the Astros had scored since the sixth inning of a 3-1 loss to the Angels on Sunday and prevented the Astros from being shut out by the Rays for the third consecutive game.
Carter’s two home runs put an end to 5-game skid
Houston Chronicle | Jul 4