HOUSTON (AP) Chris Carter has been the hottest hitter in the majors since July 1.
Houston’s slugger is certainly happy with his recent streak but wishes he’d been able to get on track earlier in the season.
”I feel like I can do more,” he said. ”Like I can do this the whole season instead of just a little part of the season.”
Carter homered twice and matched a career high with five RBIs to lead the Astros over the Minnesota Twins 10-4 on Tuesday night.
The game was tied in the third inning when Carter’s two-out, two-run drive to the Crawford Boxes in left field put Houston up 3-1.
Carter connected again on his next at-bat with a three-run shot in the fifth which chased Minnesota rookie starter Yohan Pino (1-5).
Carter leads the majors with 15 homers since July 1 and his six multihomer games this season ties a franchise record set by Lance Berkman in 2006. Tuesday was his second multi-homer game in a week and his 28 home runs are third in the American League and just one shy of his total in 2013.
His recent streak has upped his batting average to .230 from a season-low .181 on July 1. He’s powered the Astros offense while starters George Springer and Dexter Fowler have been on the disabled list.
”He had it in spurts last year,” Porter said. ”So you would say to yourself, `At some point, when it all comes together and everything clicks and we start to get consistency to this, it can be scary.’ And that’s what we’re seeing right now.”
Carter insists he hasn’t changed anything and that things have simply started clicking for him. Despite hitting .350 this month, he still believes he can improve.
”I feel like there’s still more to be done and I’m not just going to settle with this right now and just sit right here,” he said.
Collin McHugh (5-9) allowed four hits and a run in six innings for the win.
Oswaldo Arcia homered twice for the Twins for his first career multihomer game. He gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead in the second inning and added a two-run shot in the ninth.
Jake Marisnick, who finished with two hits, tied it with a solo homer to start Houston’s third before Carter’s first home run put Houston on top.
Minnesota’s Joe Mauer singled in the first to extend his hitting streak to a season-high 14 games in his second game back from the disabled list.
Pino allowed a season-high seven runs on seven hits in 4 1-3 innings for his third straight loss.
”We just didn’t pitch well enough (Tuesday),” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ”They made us pay every time we made a bad pitch in some bad situations.”
Minnesota: RHP Ricky Nolasco (elbow) is scheduled to come off the disabled list to start for the Twins on Friday. Gardenhire said they’ll likely limit him to 80-85 pitches.
Houston: Manager Bo Porter said CF Dexter Fowler (back) will come off the DL and start on Wednesday. Fowler hasn’t played since June 26. Fellow outfielder George Springer (quadriceps) had a setback in his rehabilitation and will be shut down for two weeks. Springer has been out since July 19.
Houston LHP Brett Oberholtzer opposes Kyle Gibson. The Astros have won the last five games started by Oberholtzer. Gibson pitched seven scoreless inning in a win over the Astros on June 7.
SOME KIND OF LUCK
Tim Pinkard went from having never caught a home run ball to grabbing two of them on Tuesday night. Pinkard, who was visiting from Washington, D.C., caught both of Carter’s homers. Decked out in Astros’ gear, a beaming Pinkard raised his hands with a ball in each of them after snagging the second one. He texted his wife to tell her what happened and she didn’t believe him until he sent pictures. ”I wanted to sit in the Crawford Boxes because I know it’s one of the intricacies of this park, and I knew a lot of home runs get hit here,” Pinkard said. ”I knew this was home run territory, but I honestly didn’t expect to catch anything.”