Carter belted two home runs in support of Keuchel, who
strengthened his bid for an All-Star Game berth by pitching the
Astros to a 5-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night
at Minute Maid Park.
Carter enjoyed his fifth career multi-homer game and his second this
season -- the first came in Kansas City on May 28. With his flyout
to right field in the eighth inning, his average dipped back below
.200, but his power makes him a lineup staple despite his prolific
"People question sometime, 'Why do we keep running him out there?"
Astros manager Bo Porter said. "Tonight is a prime example of why
you keep putting him in the lineup because he can have nights like
His opposite-field shot to right field leading off the seventh
inning preceded Alex Presley's single and Marwin Gonzalez's walk
that ended the night of Arizona right-hander Brandon McCarthy (1-9).
Gonzalez scored when Astros right fielder George Springer delivered
a sacrifice fly to center with the bases loaded and one out.
Carter matched Springer for the club lead with his second homer, his
12th this season. His strikeout rate of 30.7 percent is a concern,
but Carter has been laboring diligently to make more contact at the
"I've been working on (shortening his swing) since that series in
Kansas City when I didn't play those few games," Carter said. "I hit
the two homers the last game I played when I was there and ever
since then I've just been going with it."
Keuchel (8-3) worked at least eight innings for the fourth time in
his last six starts. He allowed one run on four hits and one walk
with five strikeouts and induced 14 groundouts over eight innings.
Over his last four frames, Keuchel surrendered two singles and did
not allow a runner to advance into scoring position. He lowered his
ERA to 2.38.
"It means a lot, but it's not something I think about," Keuchel said
of All-Star consideration. "I just think about going out and helping
"The defense was tremendous tonight. Marwin with a couple good plays
there. Matty D (third baseman Matt Dominguez), (shortstop Jonathan)
Villar and all those guys. Ground balls is what I try to do, and
they got plenty of them tonight."
The Astros (30-37) improved to 19-11 in their last 30 games and
guaranteed a split of their four-game season series with Arizona
The Astros were quick to provide Keuchel a working margin, stringing
together three consecutive baserunners in the first, with catcher
Jason Castro delivering a single to right that scored Springer for a
The Astros tacked runs in the third and fourth, with Villar scoring
on a groundout for a 2-0 lead and Carter hitting a homer to left for
a 3-1 lead.
[to top of second column]
Arizona had a more difficult time solving Keuchel than the Astros
did McCarthy. Keuchel did surrender a leadoff home run to second
baseman Aaron Hill in the fourth inning, his first homer allowed
since May 8th. But his ability to induce ground-ball outs again
proved to be his ally, with the Astros turning key double plays in
the second and fourth.
"He's been throwing the ball good this year," Diamondbacks manager
Kirk Gibson said of Keuchel. "He threw the ball good against us
tonight. Fifteen ground balls, four in the air, struck out five. He
had great placement on the ball. We couldn't get to him."
Said Arizona center fielder Ender Inciarte: "He was keeping the ball
down in the zone and being consistent with his pitches. We couldn't
make any adjustment."
NOTES: RF Gerardo Parra, who went 2-for-18 during the Diamondbacks'
just-concluded, five-game homestand, was out of the starting lineup
Wednesday. LF David Peralta shifted to right field, and veteran Cody
Ross made the start in left because of his familiarity with the
dimensions at Minute Maid Park. Ross made his 15th appearance at
Minute Maid Park, including his 12th start. ... Astros 2B Jose
Altuve missed his first game of the season, sidelined because of an
oblique strain. There is no threat of Altuve landing on the disabled
list, but the Astros wanted to ensure that he has ample time to rest
and recover. ... Diamondbacks 1B Paul Goldschmidt was presented with
the Houston Area Major League Player of the Year Award, bestowed by
the Houston Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Goldschmidt, a 2006 graduate of The Woodlands High School north of
Houston, was the runner-up for the 2013 National League Most
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