HOUSTON (AP) — Houston manager Bo Porter knows that many question why he keeps penciling Chris Carter into the lineup game after game when the designated hitter is batting below .200.
Carter illustrated perfectly Wednesday night why Porter sticks with him.
Carter homered twice, Dallas Keuchel pitched eight strong innings and the Astros beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1.
Carter's first solo home run made it 3-1 in the fourth inning, and he added an opposite-field shot in the seventh. It was the fifth career multihomer game for Carter and second this year.
The slugger has struggled this season and is batting just .199, but his power is undeniable and he's tied for the team lead with 12 homers.
"He's been up and down this year," Porter said. "The power numbers are there. The batting average is not there, but at the same time he's had some big hits and tonight is a step in a huge direction to him getting going."
Carter led the Astros with 29 homers and 82 RBIs last year in his first full season in the majors. He feels less pressure at the plate now that the lineup has been beefed up with the addition of rookies Jon Singleton and George Springer.
"It's nice to have guys like that where you don't feel like you're the only guy in the lineup where you have to do everything or everyone is looking to you to get a home run or something," Carter said.
Keuchel (8-3) won for the sixth time in seven starts. He allowed four hits and a run, striking out five and lowering his ERA to 2.38. Even though the game is more than a month away, Porter was already stumping for Keuchel to get the All-Star call.
"You look at the season Dallas Keuchel has put together to this point and if he's not an All-Star, what is? He continues to impress," Porter said. "It's a joy to watch."
Brandon McCarthy (1-9) allowed eight hits and four runs in six-plus innings to remain winless since May 3.
"I wasn't sharp from the get-go, but I thought I did a good job to get as deep as I could," McCarthy said. "The seventh inning there. The home run hurts and the guys getting on after that hurts and kind of spoils everything."
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