Oakland prospect Chris Carter has seen time in the Majors the past two seasons. A slow start to 2012 hasn't helped his chances of an immediate return, but that could be about to change.
Behind a small mechanical change, the A's No. 9 prospect slugged three homers and broke out of his slump in a loud way in the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats' 12-4 victory against the Reno Aces.
"It felt good. I've been struggling at the plate this week, but I got my front foot down earlier today," he said. "For the most part, I've not been swinging at strikes and I've been tardy. That makes you late and it makes you rush. Now I have to keep the same approach going forward."
The 25-year-old pulled Charles Brewer's 2-0 offering over the left-field fence in the third inning, and he smacked the first pitch he saw off Brewer (0-1) down the third-base line in the fifth.
"It was a fastball. I was waiting for something up in the zone to hit," Carter said of his first longball. "Then I got a fastball low and inside. I've been hitting a lot of balls to right field lately, but today I was pulling it."
Facing Alex Capaul with two outs and Jermaine Mitchell on third base in the sixth, Carter took a 1-2 pitch over the 410 sign at Aces Ballpark for his third homer of the afternoon.
"I was down 0-2, but then I battled back," said Carter, selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 15th round of the 2005 Draft. "It was another fastball and I hit it to center field."
It gave the California native his 14th multi-homer game and his third three-homer performance. Acquired by the A's in an eight-player deal with the D-backs in 2007, Carter first achieved the feat for Class A Advanced Stockton in a 21-7 rout of Rancho Cucamonga on April 19, 2008. He also went deep three times for the River Cats in his sixth career Triple-A game in a 17-6 win over the Aces on Aug. 31, 2009.
Carter, who also drove in a run with a sacrifice fly the other way in the first Sunday, came up with a shot at history in the top of the eighth.
"How can you not think about that?" Carter said. "I took a couple pitches waiting for that perfect pitch and ended up striking out. From a hitting standpoint, the biggest thing I learned [in Oakland] was to swing at my pitches and not the pitcher's pitches."
After going 10-for-25 (.400) to start the season, Carter entered Sunday's contest with just six hits in his previous 10 games and one homer in his first 62 at-bats of the new season. The owner of 174 Minor League roundtrippers, Carter has a .167 average, three homers and seven RBIs in 39 at-bats in Oakland.
On Sunday, Sacramento starter Bruce Billings (1-0) allowed three runs -- one earned -- on five hits while striking out five batters over five innings. Left fielder Brandon Moss was 3-for-5 with two solo homers and three runs scored and designated hitter Michael Taylor collected three hits, a run and an RBI in the win.