Game 22: Astros play long ball to back Norris

What happened: Chris Carter hit a pair of two-run homers and drove in five runs, and Bud Norris threw six strong innings to lead the Astros to an 11-2 win over the Blue Jay sat Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: LF Chris Carter has his timing down. Astros manager Bo Porter could tell early in the spring that Carter’s timing wasn’t great and preached it was only a matter of time before he came around.

“Carter has done a lot of extra work with[hitting coaches] John Mallee and Dan Radison, and they’ve done a tremendous job getting things dialed up with him and you’re starting to see the power display,” he said. “We knew when he got his timing down, he has power to all fields and he’s capable of doing what he did today consistently.”

What we learned II: RHP Bud Norris is ready for Opening Day, if the Astros choose to give him the assignment. Norris worked six innings against the Blue Jays and allowed three hits and two runs in six innings.

“The slider got lazy a couple of innings,” he said. “Obviously, the third inning when they scored there were a couple of bad sliders, but once I got it out of my head to go out there and compete and be confident with it, they started coming along. You’re always trying to locate. That’s the No. 1 priority, but attacking and being aggressive is also a priority.”

What else: In addition to the two homers by Carter, Houston also got long balls from C Jason Castro and IF Brandon Laird. Carter, Castro and Laird are tied for the team lead with four homers this spring, and Carter leads with 11 RBIs. … The 32 homers the Astros have hit this spring are three more than they hit in the entire spring schedule a year ago, and there are 14 exhibition games remaining. … LHP Erik Bedard followed Norris with three scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out five batters, in his longest outing of the spring. Bedard had been slowed by a strained gluteal muscle, but he appears healthy now. … The Astros didn’t commit an error.

What went wrong: Well, not much. The Astros were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position, but when you slug four homers, it doesn’t really matter.

What they said: “I don’t know how many pitches I threw, but to get the pitch count higher than it was at and to get up and down is the big key – how you feel in between innings.” – LHP Erik Bedard on his three-inning outing Sunday.

What’s next: The Astros are off Monday, but RHP Philip Humber will throw in a simulated game in Kissimmee. The team resumes Grapefruit League play Tuesday at 12:05 p.m. CT against the Jays in Dunedin, Fla., with RHP Jordan Lyles on the mound.

Who’s injured: OF Fernando Martinez (lower back strain) is day-to-day.

Tweets of the day:

Links of the day: Astros notebook is chock full of information, including more on the roster cuts that came down Sunday morning and where prospect Carlos Correa will likely begin the 2013 season, and much more.

Video of Jeff Luhnow talking roster moves:

The day in photos

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Astros wore green hats to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

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Matt Dominguez

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Bo Porter

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Doug Brocail watches Alex White in bullpen

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Catchers pick up balls after drills (Jason Castro in middle)

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Domingo Ayala with Carlos Pena

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Jeff Luhnow interviewed by Robert Ford

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Jason Castro flips his bat

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