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Scuffling Carter gets a day off

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BOSTON -- Astros outfielder/designated hitter Chris Carter was hitting .140 (6-for-43) in his previous 13 games entering Sunday, prompting manager Bo Porter to give the struggling slugger his second day off this season.

Carter has been extremely streaky this year, beginning the season 2-for-21 (.095) before a five-game stretch from April 8-13 in which he hit .478 (11-for-23) with four homers and seven RBIs. Of his six hits since then, he has only one home run.

"I think he will become more consistent," Porter said. "Sometimes, from a manager's standpoint, you take it out of their hands and say, 'I'm going to give you a day.' This was more of a decision to give him a day -- and on top of it give Ronny Cedeno a chance to get more at-bats, as well."

Carter began Sunday with a Major League-leading 43 strikeouts, which was six more than anyone else. He's struck out in nearly half of his 88 at-bats entering Sunday.

"When you look at strikeouts, people always look at the last pitch and they go, 'Wow, he swung at that pitch down and way out of the zone,'" Porter said. "It takes three strikes to strike out. I actually think an adjustment more so needs to be made in strike one and strike two, because he's getting pitches to hit in strike one and strike two and those are balls he's not putting away with authority.

"When he was in his hot streak, you saw exactly what I just said. When he got pitches early in the count and that were in the strike zone, he put them in play and put them in play hard."

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

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