05/17/09 1:20 PM ET
In short stay, Carpenter earns first win
Righty victorious in rain-shortened game; Escalona up
By Lisa Winston / MLB.com
Carpenter was the deserving beneficiary of a relatively new and little-known rule (10.17 b 2), which allowed the win to go to a starting pitcher who has thrown fewer than five innings if the game itself is shortened to just five. Otherwise, the hard-and-fast rule is that a starting pitcher must go five innings to qualify for the win.
So when Carpenter, the emergency starter in the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader, left the game after 4 1/3 innings with the lead, and the club held it to come away with a rain-shortened five-inning 7-5 victory, the initial and understandable call was to give reliever Clay Condrey the win and give Carpenter a hearty pat on the back, a thank you and a plane ticket back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
"Too bad I didn't get those last two outs or I would have had that first win," he said after the game, before the official scoring change had been announced. "So I just go back down and keep pitching good and hopefully I'll get back up here again soon."
With Carpenter getting the win, Condrey was awarded the save, his first of the season.
Replacing Carpenter on the big league roster is 24-year-old left-handed reliever Sergio Escalona, purchased from Double-A Reading late Saturday night. When Escalona trots in from the bullpen for the first time, it will mark his Major League debut.
Escalona had been the closer for the R-Phils, with a 2.08 ERA and 10 saves in 14 games, striking out 16 in 17 1/3 innings. It's just his second season in a relief role, having moved to the bullpen in 2007 after three seasons as a starter.
He got the news of his pending promotion Friday night when his manager, Steve Roadcap, summoned him to his office. But in classic Minor League style, "Roadie" first had a little fun with the soon-to-be-rookie.
"He asked me where I'd been the night before and I told him at my host family's home, watching TV," Escalona said. "He said, 'No, the police have come here and you have big problems.' Then he said, 'You're going to the big leagues.'"
Finally, a few hours later, Escalona was on a plane to Washington, arriving in town Saturday evening and spending an admittedly sleepless night in his hotel, much of which was spent praying. He arrived at Nationals Park for his first day in the Majors where his locker with uniform No. 53 was awaiting him.
Lisa Winston is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.