HOUSTON — Chris Carter has been on a roll for the Houston Astros.
But the slugger knows he still has a lot of work to do after barely raising his batting average above .200 with his second multi-homer game this week in Friday night's 8-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
"Right now things are going well for me," said Carter, who homered twice Friday. "I hope things continue working out for me like this."
His big night left him hitting .203 — the first time he's been over.200 since June 13. He extended his hitting streak to a career-high seven games.
"You have the type of power that he possesses, you want to make sure that you get extension, you get the ball in front, and he is doing a tremendous job of that right now," manager Bo Porter said.
Rookie Christian Vazquez got his first three major league hits and drove in three runs, while David Ortiz had three RBIs for Boston to break open the game in the sixth inning in the victory.
Carter's 18th home run landed in the first row in the Crawford Boxes in left field in the sixth to cut the lead to 8-2. He's the first Astro to have at least 18 homers in the first half of the season in consecutive years since Lance Berkman in 2008-09.
Soon after Carter returned to the dugout following his homer, and as the Astros were still celebrating, a foul ball hit by Robbie Grossman sailed into the dugout and came within inches of hitting Carter in the face. He dropped to the ground after it flew by as his teammates shook their heads at the close call.
"I just heard 'Heads up' (and) it came right at my head," he said. "I moved, and it hit the wall."
He homered again on his next at-bat, launching a 91 mph fastball to left field, where it clanged off the foul pole to make it 8-3 in the eighth and give him six homers in his last seven games.
Vazquez, who was playing in his second big league game, singled in the third inning, had an RBI double in the fourth and drove home two more with a double in Boston's five-run sixth.
Ortiz drove in three runs with a double in the sixth to make it 8-1.
John Lackey (10-6) rebounded from a tough stretch to allow four hits and two runs with a season-high five walks in six innings. He had allowed five or more runs in each of his previous three starts.
Scott Feldman (4-6) allowed seven runs and tied a season-high with 11 hits in 5 1-3 innings.
"It just looks like there is not a lot of finish," Porter said. "When he was really good early on in the year, there was finish to the fastball, there was late life, there was sharpness to the breaking ball."
Rookie Brock Holt doubled and tripled with an RBI for Boston.
Daniel Nava and Jackie Bradley Jr. got things going for the Red Sox in the sixth with consecutive singles. Feldman intentionally walked Stephen Drew to load the bases with one out. Vazquez's double made it 5-1 and chased Feldman.
"It was a tough game all around," Feldman said. "I was throwing a lot of pitches. It felt like in that sixth inning, things kind of snow-balled, and I couldn't get the out that I needed."
He was replaced by Darin Downs, who walked Holt to load the bases again. Ortiz's bases-clearing double to right-center came next.
Holt's RBI triple, which bounced off the bullpen in right-center and away from L.J. Hoes, gave Boston a 1-0 lead in the third.
Dustin Pedroia followed with a double to the corner of left field to make it 2-0.
Drew tripled with two outs in the fourth inning before scoring on a ground-rule double by Vazquez to push the lead to 3-0.
Lackey walked two batters through the first three innings and two more in the fourth before Houston got its first hit on an RBI single by Enrique Hernandez that cut the lead to 3-1 with two outs.
NOTES: Astros OF George Springer was scratched about an hour before the game with discomfort in his right knee. He is listed as day to day. ... Houston LHP Brett Oberholtzer will be recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City to start on Saturday against Jake Peavy. He will start in place of Collin McHugh, who is dealing with a finger blister.