TORONTO — Overshadowed by Ryan Lavarnway’s tying three-run homer in the fourth, Daniel Nava’s game-saving diving catch in the eighth, and Mauro Gomez’s first career MLB triple that broke a 5-5 tie in the ninth, was the fact Chris Carpenter picked up his first MLB win in Friday’s 8-6 triumph over the Blue Jays.
Carpenter, who was acquired from the Cubs in February as compensation for general manager Theo Epstein, picked up his milestone win after he was summoned to relieve the ineffective Vicente Padilla and threw 2/3 scoreless innings of relief in the eighth, stranding a pair of baserunners (fielder’s choice, intentional walk).
“Heard from family and a bunch of friends,” Carpenter said. “It was kind of one of those special nights.”
Sox manager Bobby Valentine was impressed.
“First win, heck of a job,” Valentine said before Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays. “He made good pitches to [Kelly] Johnson and at 3-and-2, I figured he hasn’t been in the game that much to make a pitch out of the zone that somebody might swing at.”
Since he was called up from Triple A Pawtucket, where he went 1-0 and recorded four saves with a 1.15 ERA in 16 appearances with the PawSox this season, Carpenter has tossed 3.1 scoreless innings over his first four outings with the Red Sox.
“He’s pitched very well since he’s been here,” Valentine said. “I’ve been impressed with his velocity and his breaking ball. His kind of reset command. He’ll fire one that looked like it got away from him and comes right back and makes a real good pitch.”
Asked how he commemorated the moment, Carpenter replied, “Got the ball” as he nodded to a baseball wrapped inside a white tube sock that was sitting on the top shelf of his locker.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do with it,” Carpenter said. “Might set it next to the first K ball that I’ve got at home. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it, but it’s nice to finally have one.”
Did he ever figure his first MLB win would come in a foreign country?
“No … no,” Carpenter said. “That thought definitely never crossed my mind.”
Now he’ll have to declare his souvenir when he clears customs at the US border.
“I’m going to have to throw it in my suitcase,” Carpenter said. “I’m sure they’ll let me back with that.”