HOUSTON -- Given his penchant to swing and miss with stunning regularity, Astros designated hitter Chris Carter appears destined to
provide more random stretches of prodigious power than consistent, one-base potential.
On Thursday night, Carter belted his second career walk-off home run, drilling a leadoff shot into the left-field seats to give the Astros a 5
-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Minute Maid Park.
"We found out again tonight why we keep running him out there," Astros manager Bo Porter said of Carter, who is batting .199 with 69
strikeouts. "We know he can change the game with one swing and now we know he can end the game with one swing."
On Wednesday night, Carter gave Astros fans a taste of that powerful bat, slugging a pair of home runs in Houston's 5-1 victory. His fifth
multi-homer game was noteworthy because it bookended a 13-game stretch that began on May 28 with a two-homer game at Kansas City.
During those 13 games, Carter hit .229/.357/.743 with six home runs and 12 RBIs. He struck out in 30.9 percent of his plate appearances
but the power numbers and on-base percentage reflect a tweak in his approach, particularly his renewed focus on shortening his swing.
"Two things. One, he shortened up his swing. Two, he's attacking the baseball," Porter said. "Those were the two things that we talked to
him about in Kansas City and it's good to see a guy put forth a lot of effort into making adjustments. The hitting coach, John Mallee and
Ralph Dickenson, they've worked extremely hard and it's good to see him start having success.
"We know the power in which this guy possesses and when he's hot he can carry a ballclub. So it's good to get him going."
For Carter, the plate adjustments coincide with his intent to ignore the constant criticism of his remaining in the lineup despite a sub-.200
batting average. He struck out 212 times last season and his struggles making contact makes him an easy target for critics. For one night, he
silenced the doubters and naysayers.
"Yeah, with everything I went through with all of the strikeouts and how everybody was hard on me about that and this year my average
isn't there but I'm still hitting homers every now and again," said Carter, whose walk-off homer in the 10th inning Thursday night provided
the Astros a 5-4 victory. "But I know I need to do better and I'm happy that this organization has faith in me still and keeps putting me out