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Astros 4, Rays 1

The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- Astros left fielder Chris Carter bashed a pair of home runs in support of another strong home start from right-hander Bud Norris as the Astros snapped a five-game losing skid with their 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park.

Carter recorded his second career multihomer game and matched third baseman Matt Dominguez for the club lead with 44 RBIs. Norris (6-7) notched his sixth quality start at home and right-handers Jose Cisnero and Jose Veras combined to retire the Rays in the eighth and ninth.

Veras earned his 17th save for Houston (31-54), which ended a 22-inning scoreless streak when Carter clubbed his first home run in the second. The Rays (45-40) had their four-game winning streak snapped.

As they did in the first two games of this series, the Rays were quick to apply pressure offensively, with center fielder Desmond Jennings working his way into scoring position with a single and stolen base before Matt Joyce advanced him to third base with an infield hit. Ben Zobrist capped the run manufacturing with a sacrifice fly to center, giving the Rays a 1-0 lead in the first inning and early momentum.

But Norris did not falter like left-handers Dallas Keuchel and Erik Bedard did against the Rays. He worked around a Kelly Johnson one-out walk in the second, James Loney hits in the fourth and sixth, and a two-on, two-out Rays uprising in the fifth.

Norris induced an inning-ending double play from Jennings in the seventh to cap another stellar appearance at home. He allowed one run on six hits and three walks with five strikeouts, lowering his ERA at Minute Maid Park this season to 2.30. And in the bottom of the seventh, the Astros provided Norris a lead following yet another stellar outing.

Carter, whose leadoff home run off Roberto Hernandez in the second inning erased the Rays' 1-0 lead, greeted right-handed reliever Jake McGee with a three-run homer in the seventh. Brett Wallace and Jason Castro chased Hernandez with successive hits, setting the stage for Carter to record his second multihomer game of 2013. His 17th home run of the season gave the Astros a 4-1 lead.

NOTES: With his single in the fourth inning, Loney extended his hitting streak to 14 games, one shy of matching his career high of 15 games set March 31-April 16, 2008, with the Los Angeles Dodgers. ... Astros DH Carlos Pena returned to the starting lineup after missing three games following a death in his family. ... The Rays matched their club record for consecutive scoreless innings at 24 before Carter slugged a leadoff home run in the second inning. Tampa Bay last allowed a run in the fourth inning on Sunday when Detroit Tigers 3B Miguel Cabrera hit a homer.
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