Friday, June 13, 2014
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Carter's 10th-inning blast powers Astros

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[June 13, 2014]  HOUSTON -- With one swing in the bottom of the 10th inning, Chris Carter validated the trust of Houston manager Bo Porter and provided yet another glimpse of his prodigious power.

The designated hitter 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 on Thursday night at Minute Maid Park.

Carter, 0-for-4 with two strikeouts entering his final at-bat, lined a 2-2 fastball from Diamondbacks right-hander J.J. Putz (1-1) 343 feet into the second row of the Crawford Boxes in left for his team-leading 13th home run of the season. He previously delivered a walk-off homer on July 6, 2012, against the Seattle Mariners while playing for the Oakland Athletics.

"We found out again tonight why we keep running him out there," 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."

The Astros (31-37) claimed three of four games against the Diamondbacks (29-40) in the home-and-home, interleague series. Left-hander Tony Sipp (1-0) picked up the win with a scoreless inning of relief.

"We've got to suck it up," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "It hurts. You want to win that game, but Carter had the home run, and they had last at-bat."

Trailing 4-3 entering the top of the ninth, the Diamondbacks needed one swing to force extra innings. Catcher Miguel Montero crushed the first pitch from Astros closer Chad Qualls out to left. Qualls had logged 19 consecutive scoreless appearances covering 17 2/3 innings, but Montero ended that run of brilliance with his ninth home run of the year.

The Astros had squandered an opportunity to add to their tenuous one-run lead in the seventh inning, loading the bases with no outs yet failing to score. After center fielder Dexter Fowler stroked a leadoff single, second baseman Jose Altuve reached after being hit by a pitch before right fielder George Springer walked to load the bases.

Arizona snuffed out that rally by summoning sidewinding left-hander Joe Thatcher from the bullpen, with Thatcher inducing a weak infield popup from first baseman Jon Singleton. Third baseman Matt Dominguez followed by hitting into a 1-2-3 double play, the first of two inning-ending double plays with the bases full. The second came in the ninth.

After the Astros had taken a 1-0 lead in the first, the Diamondbacks tied it in the third. But Astros right-hander Scott Feldman managed to escape further damage when he stranded Diamondbacks center fielder Ender Inciarte on third base after he reached on an error by Altuve and advanced into scoring positing on a stolen base.

Feldman allowed another run in the sixth. He plunked second baseman Didi Gregorius with a pitch and Gregorius eventually scored on a wild pitch after moving to third on a double to left-center field by first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.

The Astros bashed their way to four runs in the first four innings against Arizona left-hander Wade Miley.

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"I didn't have good stuff tonight," Miley said. "I wasn't locating at all, and balls were all over the place. It was a bad night. I couldn't hit a spot -- ever. I'd throw one way and it'd go somewhere else."

Singleton crushed a one-out solo homer into the upper deck in right to break a 1-all tie in the third inning.

An inning later, Astros catcher Carlos Corporan followed a leadoff walk by Robbie Grossman with a two-run homer to left field.

Miley departed with eight strikeouts in five innings and did his own wiggling out of bigger innings, particularly in the first when the Astros loaded the bases with no outs yet came away with only a 1-0 lead. His resiliency enabled the Diamondbacks to rally late, but their comeback proved pointless when Carter earned another shot to prove his worth.

"It's the greatest feeling in baseball," Carter said. "It's what you dream of, going up there and hitting the walk-off home run to win the game. Jumping around at home plate with everyone and celebrating."

NOTES: One day after the Astros announced the signing of 1B A.J. Reed, their second-round selection in the draft, the team introduced their third-round selection, 3B J.D. Davis. While Reed and Davis are officially the only players in the top 10 rounds to have signed, there are multiple reports that the Astros have reached an agreement with the first overall selection from the draft, LHP Brady Aiken, that includes a $6.5 million bonus. ... Astros 2B Jose Altuve was back in the starting lineup after missing his first game of the season on Wednesday with oblique soreness. ... The Diamondbacks claimed INF/C Jordan Pacheco from the Colorado Rockies and designated INF/OF Nick Evans for assignment. Additionally, RHP Trevor Cahill was optioned to high-Class A Visalia after being designated for assignment on June 9.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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