Carter keeps scorching as homer keys win

Astros slugger has gone deep in 6 of last 7 starts

Carter keeps scorching as homer keys win

SEATTLE -- If the Astros are able to hold on and make the postseason, they could look back on Chris Carter's sixth-inning home run Wednesday night at Safeco Field as being the biggest hit of the season.

The red-hot Carter blasted a game-tying, three-run homer in the sixth off J.C. Ramirez, and the Astros scratched out another run to beat the Mariners, 7-6, and move back into the second Wild Card spot in the American League with only three games remaining.

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"Obviously, for him to come up and hit another big home run against a right-handed pitcher, obviously we felt a lot better after it," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.

Carter, who was benched earlier in the season, is hitting .324 with seven homers -- and only three singles -- and 13 RBIs in his last 16 games. He's homered in four of the Astros' last five games and has six homers in his last seven starts.

"Just trying to not swing at a pitch out of the zone and be myself there," he said.

On Wednesday, Carter crushed an 0-2 slider to left field to score Carlos Gomez, who had singled, and Luis Valbuena, who had walked, to tie the game. He's got 15 homers against right-handers and nine against left-handers this year.

"I've always hit righties the same as lefties," he said. "I don't really have a big split, just with the whole Valbuena and me thing. He's left-handed, I'm right, so it's just been kind of that platoon."

Carter suddenly looks like the same guy who went on a torrid two-month streak late last season when he hit .296 with 23 homers and 55 RBIs in a 52-game span.

If he can provide some more pop into this weekend's series in Arizona, the Astros could be breaking out champagne at some point.

"Everybody here is excited to see how the season turns out and just keep playing hard and whatever happens, happens," Carter said.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.